The great days of the shipping industry in Brazil were gone a long time ago. Big shipping lines went bankrupt, Brazilian flag ships were sold, arrested, abandoned or scrapped and shipyards had little to no service and were forced to close or stay afloat with minor repairs and dry-docking jobs. The Brazilian shipping industry has a very sad history, but it seems that there is hope for a brighter future for the South Atlantic giant!
The 1960’s and 1970’s were remarkable to the merchant marine history in Brazil. The creation of the “Merchant Marine Fund” and the “Tax for the Merchant Marine Renew”, in 1958, together with other specific targets set by the government at that time, made investments available to the shipbuilding industry and for the development of the merchant marine in general. Counting on such incentives, new shipyards as Ishibras and Verolme were built, old shipyards were renovated and in the late 70’s, the Brazilian ship building industry reached the second position in the world, employing over 40,000 people in 1979, and the country headquartered one of the biggest shipping companies in Latin America, not to say in the world: the former Lloyd Brasileiro.
This positive development was badly hit within the 80’s and 90’s, when the country experienced lots of economic and political problems. The number of employees in shipbuilding decreased to 30,000 within 4 years in 1983 and with the “sinking” of Lloyd Brasileiro in the 90’s after 100 years in service, several Brazilian merchant ships where simply abandoned at anchor as what happened to the former M/V “Lloyd Atlântico”, which was the biggest container ship built in south America in the 80’s and was left at anchor in Rio de Janeiro after only 10 years in service.
With a breakdown in the country’s economy, and public investments being redirected to the building of roads rather than to the development of ports and cabotage, the shipping business almost disappeared in Brazil and companies were one after the other going through financial problems leading to bankruptcy. [Read more...]