Located at the municipality of Sao Joao da Barra, in the southeaster state of Rio de Janeiro, the Açu Superport is a private mixed use port terminal that stands as the largest investment in port infrastructure in the Americas. In construction, the development will have 30 berths handling products as steel, petroleum, coal, granite, iron ore, liquid bulk and general cargo. With an initial depth of 21 meters, with possible expansion to 26 meters, the bridge will have a superpier of 2.9 km long (already completed) that will allow the berthing of the largest ships in the world.
The venture, expected to start operating in 2012, is under construction since October 2007 and was designed around the concept of modern and efficient port-industry. In the vicinity of the superport, an Industrial Complex will be built in an area of 90 km2. Next to Campos, Santos and the state Espirito Santo, with easy access to the more developed regions of the country, the Acu Superport will serve as logistics center for the Midwest and Southeast of Brazil and will have a huge industrial complex where will be installed various types of industries such as steel, power plant, cement, metal mechanic pole, iron ore pelletizing plants, oil treatment units, and area for storage and handling of products. There will be also additional services provided by companies specializing in shipping, intermodal integration, warehousing and customs clearance.
The Rio de Janeiro is undoubtedly a strategical state for the logistics of the Central West and Southeast and located between the main basins of the country’s oil. Moreover, it is a multimodal area, ie, has easy access to all types of transport logistics: sea, land and air.
This feature has attracted a strategic series of mega investments to be developed for the state in coming years as the Port of Açu, an infrastructure investment estimated at $ 3.6 billion.
The project will guide the economic development of the state, with estimates that the project will generate about 60,000 direct jobs, which, by the calculation of the government itself, would be 240 000 indirect jobs for the region. The volume and diversity of the project will induce a strong movement to attract new businesses and skilled labor to meet the demand of enterprises in the region of Macae, Sao Joao da Barra and Campos.
Packed with billionaire domestic and Chinese investment, we know that this bold project, which has now more than 1500 jobs will generate a lot more from 2012 when the project should be completed. The Port of Açu is located very close to the oil fields of Rio de Janeiro and Espirito Santo. Even the fields of the pre-salt ocean area will be facilitated by its sophisticated logistics operation that is being prepared to give full support to the activities Offshore. The modernity of the project will greatly reduce port costs and still allow the berthing of much larger ships than today.
The Açu Superport is the postcard of the most striking developments of the eighth richest man in the world, according to the Forbes magazine ranking reported in March 2010. Almost every company of the EBX Group, the conglomerate created by Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista, consisting of a soup of acronyms all with the letter “X”, have investment plans in the complex, which is a little more than three hours car ride from the city of Rio de Janeiro.
The logistics company responds by LLX port activities, the MPX Power plans to build two thermal plants, the shipbuilding company is called OSX. OGX is another potential candidate to have a local base, the company has oil and gas rights in the exploration blocks in the Campos Pre Salt Basin, less than 300 km from the coast.
The business group of Eike Batista has had more stuff in the area of the complex but sold. MMX, Eike mining company, had set up a system that included the exploration of a mine in Minas Gerais, 500 kilometers of pipeline for the shipment of raw materials to Acu, which would be finished at the port and shipped abroad. But along with another project in Amapa, Eike Batista sold the business for $ 5.5 billion for Anglo American, one of the largest industry in the world. The mining company Anglo continues with the works at the complex, and the deadline for completion is the same year of the completion of the port.
In addition to their own businesses, the plan for Eikelândia includes the installation of other large enterprises. An area of 90 square kilometers, equivalent to the city of Vitoria (ES), the Brazilian billionaire hopes to attract two steel plants – has already signed a contract with the Chinese Wisco, one of the top three steel producers in the Asian country. The other was closed with the Italian-Argentine Techint- Ternium, one of the largest steel producers in Latin America. Each of the steelworks will have cement plants as neighbors – Votorantim and Camargo Correa, the two largest Brazilian companies have already signed agreements of intent with Eike’s investment firms
The businessman has already indicated its interest in attracting an automaker. Toyota? Suzuki? These are the brands speculated by local residents. Chinese car? Electric Car? The Nano? The name is not revealed by the entrepreneur in his interviews or messages through Twitter. Little is known about many of the 60 memorands of understanding signed by Eike companies that do not open the information duet to confidentiality reasons.
Currently The Port employs about 2,500 people, of whom more than half from the region, especially in the most basic functions. Engineers and technical expertise were “imported” and occupy much of the guesthouses and hotels in the region.
The projections released by the city indicate that the population of Sao Joao da Barra will grow from the current 32 000 to about 250 000 people in a period of up to 15 years. The city government launched a plan for infrastructure projects, with investments of $ 80 million next year, which includes water and sewage networks.
Six clinics, five kindergartens, two new schools were built. Opened up vacancies for technical education aimed, for example, for logistics and metal-mechanic. In addition, 180 students are taking classes in Mandarin to communicate with the Chinese who will work in one of two steel plants expected in the industrial complex.
To meet demand, the City calculates the construction of 84,000 new units and warns that the council does not want to accommodate pockets of poverty, like slums. “Who comes here and settle in shacks will be removed,” said the mayor.
To accommodate population growth, the EBX group decided to create, from scratch, “City X”, an area attached to the port-industrial complex. The venture is targeting 250 000 people, although the city does not assess that for more than 150 000 inhabitants. It will be developed by REX the real estate company of Eike.
To do so, the businessman asked the architect and urban planner Jaime Lerner, former governor of Parana, to create a model city. “The idea is to secure housing with infrastructure, so that urban growth is planned and environmentally sustainable,” explains the company. One proposal under consideration is the use of bicycles and electric cars. “We want don’t want that the city X become a gated community,” says the mayor. “You can not have a fragmented city.”
For years, Sao Joao da Barra lived on fishing, farming and livestock, such as sugar cane until the bankruptcy of the existing plants in neighboring Campos. It became nationally known during the years 1970 and 1980 because of the propaganda of a brandy tar, produced by Thoquino group, known as “the miracle of brandy,” which allegedly could “cure” the ills of the sick by arthritis. But what generates more revenue and maintains the city is the revenue from royalties on oil taken from the Roncador field, one of Petrobras in the Campos Basin.
The first mall in town begins to leave the project. A SuperBom supermarket chain in nearby Campos, should be opening a branch in Sao Joao da Barra too and the city has two bank branches, one of Banco do Brazil and another of Banco Itau. The CEF should open a branch, and the same is expected from Bradesco and Santander.