Codesp, the São Paulo State Docks Company, has agreed to transfer operation of its 200 km network serving the port of Santos to four of Brazil’s private freight operators. A joint venture of Ferroban, Ferronorte, MRS Logística and Novoeste was to expected take over 250 Codesp staff and a fleet of 30 locos by the end of 1999, and to raise throughput in time to handle the annual export grain harvest in March and April.

In recent years rail’s share of traffic moving through Santos has slipped from 10% to under 3%, and Codesp hopes the private companies will undertake the investment necessary to remove capacity bottlenecks; loco maintenance has been identified as a priority. Ferroban President José Carlos Nunes Marreco hopes to cut transit times between Codesp’s Saboó yard and the Ferroban interchange at Ponta da Praia from four days to one.