Brazil - Limited Port Assessment
2.1.5 Brazil Port of Itaqui

Port Overview

São Luís is the capital and largest city of the Brazilian state of Maranhão. The city is located on Upaon-açu Island (Big Island, in Tupi Language) or Ilha de São Luís (Saint Louis' Island), in the Baía de São Marcos (Saint Mark's Bay), an extension of the Atlantic Ocean which forms the estuary of Pindaré, Mearim, Itapecuru and other rivers. São Luís has the second largest maritime extension within Brazilian states. Its maritime extension is 640 km (397 miles). The city proper has a population of some 1,082,935 people (2016 IBGE estimate). The metropolitan area totals 1,605,305, ranked as the 15th largest in Brazil. The climate is characterized as hot, semi-humid, tropical of equatorial zone, with two distinct seasons that go from damp (January to June) the drought (July to December), with average rainfall of 2,200 mm per year.

São Luís, created originally as Saint-Louis-de-Maragnan, is the only Brazilian state capital founded by France and it is one of the three Brazilian state capitals located on islands (the others are Vitória and Florianópolis).

The city has two major sea ports: Madeira Port and Itaqui Port, through which a substantial part of Brazil's iron ore, originating from the (pre)-Amazon region, is exported. Main exporters are metallurgical giants like Alumar, and VALE. Port of Alumar, Port of Itaqui and Port of Ponta da Madeira (which is currently the second deepest in the world, second only to the Rotterdam) makes here one of the busiest ports of the country. It serves as a gateway for industrial production and iron ore arriving from the Carajás Railway, operated by Companhia Vale do Rio Doce and also exports soybeans grown in southern Maranhão and central Brazil, transported by the Carajás Railway and North-South Railway. The port's proximity to strategic markets in Europe and North America has led it to become an attractive option for exporting goods.

The São Luís economy is based on aluminum processing (ALUMAR), pelleting industry (VALE), food production and tourism. São Luís has the largest GDP in the state, hosting two public universities (and UFMA UEMA) and various educational institutions and private colleges. According to the latest data from the IBGE survey, São Luís has a GDP of R$9,340,944,000.00, occupying14th position amongst state capitals.

The island of Upaon-Açu is located between two large estuarine systems that are the bays of São Marcos on the right side and São José on the left side in the central region of Golfão Maranhense. The two bays are interconnected in the southwest by the channels of the Strait of Mosquitoes and Strait of Coqueiros (separating the island of Upaon-Açu from the island of Tauá-Mirim).

In the São Marcos bay, the watershed of the Mearim river and its tributaries flows, while in the São José/Arraial bay the watersheds of the Itapecuru and Munim rivers break. In this region, the amplitude of the tides can exceed 6 meters and tug boats are always on the watch as due to strong tidal currents, ships have broken from their lines and drifted away. Especially considering 300,000 DWT VALEMAX operation in VALE Terminal, this is an important point to take note of.

On the Strait of Mosquitoes, there are road and railroad bridges linking the mainland to Upaon-Açu Island: the Marcelino Machado bridge, BR-135, composed of two parallel inlet and outlet bridges (456 and 454 meters in length); the metal bridge Benedito Leite, belonging to the São Luís-Teresina Railway; the duplicate bridge belonging to the Carajás Railroad; the metal bridge that supports the Italuís waterway, which carries water from the river Itapecuru to the city of São Luís.

On December 28, 1973, the Docks Company of Maranhão (Codomar), under the Federal Government, was created to administer Port of Itaqui. Since February 2001, through the Agreement of Delegation No. 016/2000, signed between the Ministry of Transport and the State Government, the Itaqui Port is now managed by the Maranhense Port Administration Company (EMAP). The Empresa Maranhense de Port Administration - EMAP performs the function of port authority.

Access Channel to Port of Itaqui is 101 Km long with a limiting width of 500 meters. It has a depth of 23 meters and max draft restriction of 22.3 meters.

EMAP Porto of Itaqui has seven operational berths, as well as a new oil tanker (Cradle 108). The berths have depths ranging from 12 to 19 meters. Berths 103 & 105 are reserved for grain shipments of TEGRAM (Berth 103) and VLI Terminal Portuario de Sao Luis (Berth 105).

For more information please see the port website: (Portuguese).

Port website:

Key port information may also be found at:

Port Location and Contact



Province or District

State of Maranhao

Nearest Town or City with Distance from Port

Sao Luis – 23 KM

Port's Complete Name

Porto do Itaqui





Managing Company or Port Authority

EMAP - Empresa Maranhense de Administração Portuária

Management Contact Person

Ted Lago (President – no direct contact)

Nearest Airport and Airlines with Frequent International Arrivals/Departures



Port Pictures


São Luís and Port of Itaqui.

São Luís and Port of Itaqui close up.

 Port of Itaqui (left), VALE plant and terminal (right).

Close up of Port of Itaqui and VALE Plant and Terminal.


 Left: EMAP Port of Itaqui.

Right: TEGRAM grain terminal

Lower right: Berth 103 connected to Itaqui Port with conveyor belt line, where TEGRAM has berthing priority. When there are no grain shipments Suzano (cellulose company) uses the same berth.


Close up view of VLI Terminal Portuario De Sao Luis, which is located inside VALE Terminal Ponta De Madeira. Just like TEGRAM, VLI Terminal is also connected to EMAP Port of Itaqui with a conveyor belt line where they exclusively use Berth 105 for their grain shipments. Ponta De Madeira is not used for grain shipments.

Please find following link for Itaqui Port photos, videos and documents: ITAQUI DOCUMENTS

Description and Contacts of Key Companies


CONSORCIO TEGRAM was inaugurated by Ex-President Dilma Youssef in 2015 by a consortium of grain exporters with the major idea of exporting big volumes constantly and in fastest fashion, serving primarily Far-Eastern clients. Total terminal storage capacity is 500,000 Tons which is divided into 4 warehouses with 125,000 tons static capacity each. TEGRAM oversees terminal management and warehouse owners are in charge of what goes on inside of their warehouses.  Consortium Partners are as follows:

  • Warehouse 1: Terminal Corridor Norte – partners and their shares are %75 NOVAAGRI + %25 CHS
  • Warehouse 2: GLENCORE
  • Warehouse 3: CGG TRADING – partners and their shares are %60 COTEMINAS + %40 SOJITZ

Warehouses have ability to store 2 different kind of grains simultaneously with a wall separation. Only grains they are working with are soybeans and maize. 98% of the exports are bound for China where they are processed as meal and oil for further consumption. There is no milling capacity in Tegram. In 2018, terminal loaded 6,300,000 tons of grains on 99 ships. Terminal capacity is 5,000,000 tons yet technically 7,000,000 MT per year is possible to achieve. Tegram is initiating the 2nd phase of investment in 02/2019 with the aim to increase terminal capacity to 10,000,000 MT per year. Technically 14,000,000 MT per year will become a possibility for them once investment will be completed in April 2020. Tegram will not be constructing additional storage capacity. Currently they have only 1 assigned berthing position; EMAP Berth 103 where they are connected with 1 conveyor belt to a massive ship loader that can move sideways on rails and perform 2,500 MT/H loading rate. EMAP and Tegram agreed on assignment of a 2nd Berth: EMAP Berth 100 where Tegram will be investing for a 2nd conveyor belt connection and a ship loader. Once investment will be completed, Tegram will be able to load 2 ships simultaneously.

Of 6,300,000 tons loaded in 2018, 81% were soybeans, 16.5% were maize and 2.5% were soybean meals. %56 of this total volume arrived Tegram with trucks and remaining 44% arrived with railway. Only railway operator providing this connection is VLI (VALE) which is the other grain terminal operator at Itaqui as well. Upon completion of capacity increase they will also be able to unload 8 wagons simultaneously in comparison to 4 wagons now. Then they expect to receive 80% of grain via railways. Unlike other Northern Ports, there is no barge connection to this port for grain transshipment. All volumes are arriving via land. Origin of the grains are following Brazilian States: Maranhao, Tocantins, Piaui, Bahia, and Mato Grosso.

PANAMAX and KAMSARMAX are the most common choice for export shipments loaded from Tegram. Biggest loading operation so far was for 76,000 tons which with their 52,000 tons per production rate, they can fulfil in around 1.5 days. In between March-July 2018 average waiting at anchorage time for Beth 103 was 8-12 days. For other months 2-4 days can be considered but again with new investment for a 2nd berth position this is expected to get better as Tegram expectation is to reach 100% capacity by 2023-24 in accordance with speed increase in cultivation fields in mentioned states.

EMAP BERTH 103 LIMITATIONS: EMAP gives berth approval / acceptance as port authority.




MAX DWT: 100,000 MT




NOMINAL LOADING RATE: 2,000 MT/H based on soybeans, MAX: 2,500 MT/H

USUAL DAILY LOADING RATE: 25,000 MT/DAY based on soybean, MAX: 52,000 MT/H










Websites: and

VLI is whole subsidiary of Brazilian mining giant VALE. Terminal Portuario de Sao Luis is located within VALE Terminal Ponta da Madera where they are exporting huge volumes of iron ore. VLI terminal has its own separate warehouse and silo and conveyor belt connecting the terminal to EMAP Berth 105 so they are not using Ponta de Madera terminal conveyor belts and berths. On the other hand, in addition to soybeans, soybean meals and maize, manganese and pig iron is shipped from this terminal using same conveyor belt connection to public berth. The assessor was informed that they are cleaning the conveyor belt and loading system in compliance with standards when they switch from minerals to alimentation, but was also informed that volumes shipped from this terminal are 100% for animal feed which this might be the reason why.

Main clients of the terminal are BUNGE, CARGILL, AGREX DO BRASIL, MULTIGRAIN, LOUIS DREYFUS COMMODITIES, and GRANOL. Terminal is part of VLI Northern Corridor logistics network and 100% of grain arrives terminal via railway by VLI as single service operator. VLI is operating 800 locomotives and 22,000 wagons all around Brazil. Amongst many other terminals they own, we can count TIPLAM in Port of Santos as one of the most important ones. There is no possibility of receiving grains by truck or barges. Annual loading capacity is 5,000,000 tons and their 2018 performance is 4,1000,000 tons of which %75 was soybeans and maize. Terminal has 1 warehouse and 7 silos for total static storage capacity of 240,000 tons. Manganese and pig iron are stored in 3 open yards with a static capacity of 140,000 tons.


Berth length (m) 280 meters
Max LOA 229 meters
Max draft 17.5 meters
Max beam 50 meters
Max air draft 15 meters
Max DWT 155,000 DWT
Min DWT 45,000 DWT
Distance between ship's cranes

25 meters

Hatches 15 x 15 meters at least. Does not apply if distances between cranes are higher than 25 meters.

Loading equipment 1 mobile ship loader with telescopic spout. Outreach of 31.5 meters.
Nominal loading rate 2,500 MT/hr. Max: 3,000 MT/hr for grains.
Usual daily loading rate 30,000 MT / day
Bunkers Available at this shore by shore pipes
Age restriction for vessels Max 25 years. Ships over 18 years old need additional requirements.
Side alongside Starboard only
Navigation restrictions Vessels with DWT higher than 90,000 MT are allowed to berth during daytime only.
Max draft at channel

23 meters

Water density Between 1.017 - 1.019 brackish water

Port Performance

Seasonal Constraints

Occurs Time Frame
Rainy Season Yes December to June
Major Export Campaigns Yes March to November
Other Comments Based on Grain shipments from Berth 103&105 only.
Handling Figures for 2018
Vessel Calls 157 (only Berths 103 & 105 for maize, soybean, and soybean pellet shipments)TOTAL FIGURE NOT AVAILABLE
Container Traffic (TEUs) NIL
Handling Figures Bulk and Break Bulk for 2018
Bulk (MT) 9,740,639 FOR maize, soybeans, soybean pellets (total bulk of Port of Itaqui is 17,606,291 MT in 2017, 2018 figures not available)
Break bulk (MT) 1,507,686 (2017 figures)

Discharge Rates and Terminal Handling Charges

EMAP Port Of Itaqui Port Authority Tariff:

Berthing Specifications

Type of Berth Quantity Length (m) Maximum Draft (m) Comments
Conventional Berth 4 956
  • Berth 101 & 102: 12 meters
  • Berth 104: 13 meters
  • Berth 106: 19 meters

Container Berth NIL

Silo Berth 2 550
  • Berth 103 (TEGRAM) 14.5 meters
  • Berth 105 (VLI) 17.5 meters

Berthing Tugs Yes

Water Barges Yes

Below please find operational information on EMAP Port of Itaqui Berths:

General Cargo Handling Berths

Cargo Type Berth Identification
Imports - Bagged Cargo NIL
Exports - Bagged Cargo NIL
Imports and Exports - RoRo NIL
Other Imports

Port Handling Equipment

The port equipment is managed by the concession owners. 

Equipment Available Total Quantity and Capacity Available Comments on Current Condition and Actual Usage
Dockside Crane No

Container Gantries No

Mobile Cranes Yes 1 With grab for mineral solid bulk shipments at Berth 102
Reachstacker No

RoRo Tugmaster (with Trailer) No

Grain Elevator Yes 2 mobile ship loaders with telescopic chutes X 2,500 MT/hr loading rate TEGRAM And VLI equipment AT Berth 103 & 105
Transtainer No

Forklifts Yes

Container Facilities

Liners were calling the port in between 2011-2016. I do not have information whether they were cabotage or international services. At its height annual volume was 18,700 TEUs in 2014. During 2016 it was 1,000 TEUs only.

Facilities 20 ft and 40 ft
Container Facilities Available NIL
Container Freight Station (CFS) NIL
Refrigerated Container Stations NIL
Other Capacity Details NIL
Daily Take Off Capacity
(Containers per Day)
Number of Reefer Stations
(Connection Points)
Emergency Take-off Capacity NIL
Off take Capacity of Gang Shift
(Containers per Shift)

Customs Guidance

Customs Authority: Alfandega do Porto de Sao Luis

Person in Charge: Cneio Lucius de Pontes e Souza


All customs process is done in a paperless environment on an electronic platform named e-CAC.

Address: Av. dos Portugueses, s/n, Porto do Itaqui, Itaqui, Sao Luis, MARANHAO CEP 65085-370

Tel: +55(98)32316001 / 32187067 

Please seePort of Santos Customs Guidance for Brazilian Customs Orientation Document(in Portuguese).


Terminal Information

Multipurpose Terminal

Storage Type Number of Storage Facilities Area (m2)
Bagged Cargo NIL
Refrigerated Cargo NIL
General Cargo NIL


All stevedoring activities are carried out by grain terminal owners and EMAP concession owners. All grain operation is managed by TEGRAM and VLI from berths 103 & 105.

Hinterland Information


The port of Itaqui has direct rail connection with two railways. One is the Transnordestina (FTL), which passes through 7 states of the Northeast, from Maranhão to Sergipe (stretch from São Luís to Propriá) and is 4,238km long. The other is the Carajás Railroad (EFC), a stretch granted to Vale and operated by VLI, which is 892km long, linking the Maranhão capital to Carajás-PA. In addition to solid and liquid granules, it is used to transport pulp production in Imperatriz-MA to Itaqui. There is also an indirect connection with the North-South Railroad (FNS), which links to the EFC in Açailândia. Such a connection makes it possible to transport solid mineral and vegetable solids, as well as fuels. With the operationalization of the stretch to Anápolis-GO, there are new business prospects.

Below is a map that shows the Itaqui railway connections, as well as its entire area of influence:


Access is via the BR-135 and BR-222 highways that connect to other federal highways (BR 316, BR 230, BR 226 and BR 010) and state highways (MA 230) throughout the North and South of the country. 


Port Security

ISPS Compliant Yes
Current ISPS Level
(Level 1 = Normal, Level 2 = Heightened, Level 3 = Exceptional)
ISPS Level 1
Police Boats No
Fire Engines Yes
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