June 2, 2018 / 10:12 PM / 21 days ago

FACTBOX-Brazil commodities firms scramble to resume ops amid trucker protests

    June 2 (Reuters) - Striking truckers in Brazil have
disrupted supplies and exports from one of the world's
agricultural powerhouses, but the 10-day-long protests are
winding down and companies from meatpackers to soy crushers are
resuming operations.
    Problems persist in some sectors, however, and will need
time to recover. The following is the situation as of Friday:
    
    POULTRY AND PORK: Of 167 meat-producing plants that halted
operations, 163 have restarted. The rest are expected to be back
up next week. Since the truckers' strike began on May 21, meat
exports have fallen by 135,000 tonnes, said industry group ABPA.
At least 70 million chickens of a total flock of 1 billion have
been culled as feed failed to reach farmers. 
    Initial ABPA estimates are 3 billion reais ($798 million) in
losses. Brazil is the world's biggest chicken exporter. It
shipped 4.3 million tonnes of chicken meat in 2017, according to
ABPA. Pork exports totaled around 693,000 tonnes last year.
    
    BEEF: Brazilian beef processors have lost an estimated
40,000 tonnes of potential exports worth $170 million since the
strike began, trade group ABIEC said. Brazil is the world's top
beef exporter. In 2017, exports totaled 1.53 million tonnes. 
    
    PORTS: Terminal operators at Latin America's largest port
Santos said on Friday that the arrival of trucks arriving or
leaving the port was "normalizing." Goods transported on rail
have been unaffected by the dispute, but rail shipments account
for only a small part of Santos' total volume.
       
    SUGAR: Analysts and industry groups said many mills in the
main cane belt managed to get diesel supplies on Tuesday and
Wednesday for machines to resume cane harvesting after some days
without any field work. 
    At the height of the protest, hundreds of sugar mills in
Brazil's center-south region, the world's largest sugar cane
belt, were shut. Once harvesting resumes, plants can restart
production of sugar and ethanol. 
    But mills are reporting problems shipping sugar and ethanol
to ports or distribution centers because of lingering
roadblocks. Brazil is the world's largest sugar exporter and
foreign shipments in 2017-18 totaled 22.5 million tonnes.
         
    GRAINS: Soybean exporters mulled declaring force majeure on
shipments, a contractual clause that releases them from
obligations because of events beyond their control, according to
Anec, a trade group representing grains exporters such Archer
Daniels Midland Co        , Louis Dreyfus Company            
and Cofco International           . 
    Ships were anchored off Santos waiting for grain to arrive
at the port so they could load it for export. The demurrage
costs for delayed shipping would be "very large," Agriculture
Minister Blairo Maggi said this week. 
    ADM spokeswoman Jackie Anderson told Reuters on Wednesday
that trucks are slowly starting to move in Brazil, and the
company was already carrying out some shipments. "Though the
recent disruption is still impacting the arrival of raw material
to our local processing facilities and ports, and our ability to
ship soybeans and finished products to our domestic and export
customers, we expect to return to normal operations (Thursday)
if the situation continues to progress," Anderson said. 
    Cargill Inc           is monitoring the situation closely
and remains in communication with its customers, a company
spokesman told Reuters on Wednesday. The global grain trader has
four grain export terminals in Brazil, including one it jointly
operates with Louis Dreyfus, according to Cargill's website.
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture has forecast that Brazil
will export around 72 million tonnes of soybeans this year.  
    
    SOY PROCESSING: All 63 soy crushing units that ground to a
halt in Brazil due to a lack of supplies were back in operation
by Friday, industry group Abiove said. The group speaks on
behalf of members such as top global grains merchants Bunge Inc
       and Cargill, who have plants in Brazil. Some could resume
activities in the next few hours if road blockades are lifted
and trucks can deliver beans.

    COFFEE: Exports from the world's largest producer in May are
likely to total 900,000 60-kg bags fewer than expected due to
the protests that hampered transport to ports, according to
exporters' association Cecafe.
    The group said that the protests had caused financial losses
estimated at 560 million reais ($150 million) in lost export
sales and port costs. A leading coffee exporter told Reuters on
Wednesday that no trucks were arriving in Santos port, so
shipments could not be resumed.
    Brazil is the world's top coffee exporter. Shipments of
green coffee totaled 27.3 million 60-kg bags in 2017.
    
    OVERALL IMPACT: Losses to Brazilian farmers so far during
the truckers' work stoppage are estimated at 6.6 billion reais
($1.77 billion), said Brazil's CNA farm lobby. It could take
farmers six months to a year to recover from the impact of the
protests.
 ($1 = 3.7635 Brazilian reais)

    
 (Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira, Ana Mano, José Roberto Gomes
and Roberto Samora; additional reporting by P.J. Huffstutter and
Karl Plume in Chicago; editing by Rosalba O'Brien and G Crosse)
  
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