Friday – February 2

At 8 a.m. we boarded a tourist train in downtown Curitiba for a picturesque ride through the mountains to the town of Morretes. Morretes is a small town a few miles inland from the Port of Paranagua. Our tour bus was waiting for us at the Morretes train station.

We drove to Paranagua. Here we saw one of Brazil’s largest ports. Much of the soybeans from the Cuiaba and Campo Grande areas are trucked to this port. We were told that it is 2,500 kilometers (1,553 miles) to Cuiaba and about 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) to Campo Grande. As we drove to the port, I saw several gas stations. The sign said $1.66 per liter ($6.28 per gallon) for lead free gas. Brazil has ten major ports along the Atlantic coast from south to as far north as the Amazon River.

At 1:50 p.m. the temperature was 38° Celsius (100.4 F) and very humid. We went to the port’s headquarters where we viewed a video about the port and then had an opportunity to ask questions. They said 40% of the grains arrive by train (on the tracks we rode the train) and 60% by truck. Sao Paulo is also one of Brazil’s largest ports. But they said Paranagua is the #1 exporter in grain. 38% of Brazil’s soybeans are shipped through this port.

They said they have facilities to load up to 3-grain ships at a time with about 1,000 tons per hour on each ship. Some ships take about 18 hours to load. Much of the grain goes to Europe at Rotterdam. They can dock 13 mid-size ships at one time. Container shipping has increased in the last 3 years.

The country of Paraguay also uses this port. The port also exports automobiles, timber, and coffee, frozen meat and many other items. They said the railroads coming to the port are improving. Up to 120,000 tons vessels dock at the port. In 1998, twenty million tons were handled. They plan to expand the grain handling facilities. Again, they said this is the largest grain export complex in Brazil. We saw several nearby huge grain storage facilities including Cargill.

Paranagua port is at sea level. Curitiba is about 1,000 feet above sea level. It is cooler with better weather and thus the reason it has become the bigger city. On the ride back to Curitiba we saw numerous banana trees. We stopped at a roadside stand and the guide bought a bunch for the group. Tasted pretty good, as we had been afraid to eat the fresh fruit.

Farm Visit #4

Near Curitiba, we visited a stud farm. The owner was a wealthy retired lawyer and apartment owner. The farm and horses were beautiful and it looked very much like the horse farms near Lexington, Kentucky. We spent the night in a Curitiba hotel and went to the airport early next morning for our flight to Cuiaba, Mato Grosso.

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For 2002 Travel Plans to South America see: www.kitt-travel.com