Paraná River Sees Historic Low Water Levels Since 1944

Oleochem Analytics – The Paraná River, which runs through Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, has hit the lowest historic water levels since 1944, according to Argentina’s National Water Institute (INA), due to scarce rainfall in the river basin, in Brazil, over the last three years.

On July 5, the river level stood at 0.20 meters high (7.88 inches) at the Port of Rosario, where 93% of Argentina’s vegetable oils exports were exported from in 2019, in addition to 67% of Argentina’s grains and 96% of its flours, according to the Rosario Board of Trade (BCR).

Furthermore, BCR states that Gran Rosario agro-industrial complex concentrates 80% of the daily theorical capacity of processing soy and sunflower in Argentina.

The extremely low level makes exports from the Port of Rosario almost impossible, driving agribusiness to export from other ports, such as the Port of Bahia Blanca and Quequén, in Buenos Aires, and even ports in Montevideo, Uruguay or Brazil.

Ships must depart with 30-50% less cargo, due to the almost total absence of water. The lower cargo load makes costs surge. About $240m were lost last year, when the situation was less critical, according to BCR. A loss of $400 million is expected for this year, the BCR said.

Paraná River stood at a meter in July 2020 in the Port of Rosario, and at 4.49 meters in 2019.

Specialists forecast an even worse situation for the rest of the year.

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