Brazil has thirty-six deep-water ports. The largest ones are Belém,
Fortaleza, Ilhéus, Imbituba, Manaus, Paranaguá, Porto
Alegre, Recife, Rio
de Janeiro, Rio Grande, Salvador,
Santos, and Vitória. With the possible exception of Argentina
and Uruguay, ocean-shipping arrangements are easier to the United
States and Europe than to the rest of Latin America. In January
1993, the Brazilian Congress approved legislation that could allow
for the privatization of the nation's ports. Brazil's major port,
in terms of the value of exports and imports, has long been Santos, São
Paulo State, followed by the ports of Rio de Janeiro and Vitória.
Although all three ports handle some trade with other Latin American
countries, they traditionally have handled more trade with Europe
and the United States, and the Japanese presence has been increasing.
Santos is Latin America's largest port. Located seventy-two kilometers
south of São Paulo, it handles a daily average of 50,000
tons cargo. In 1994 Santos handled its largest volume of cargo since
it first started operations in 1892. A total of 3,960 ships with
31.4 million tons of cargo passed through the port in 1994.
Data as of April 1997