03 March 2010

Well Hello.. Argentina.

Today was an adventure of a different sort. We departed the hotel around 7:30 this morning and headed down the mountain towards the water. Our day was one we all had been greatly anticipating. The official start to the morning began on a riding bus tour of the Mosiac FACILITY in Cuatao. Before we arrived to Cuatao we had to wind down the mountain side to the facility. It would be unjust for me not to mention what a beautiful site it is. It is amazing to see how the road twists and turns and winds itself down the side of the mountain at great heights above anything you could imagine. We have talked a lot this past week about the lack of infrastructure in Brazil. What the state of Mato Grosso lacks in road development, Sao Paulo state makes up for in their creativity and the dynamics of the roads down the mountain side.

The bus tour through Mosaic’s facility was full of information. The plant in Cuatao opened in the 1970’s and now employs 400 to 500 people, in which at least 300 of them are actual Mosaic employees. The rest are contract workers. Most of the movement done to move product to and from the facility is done so by trucks. That consists of about 700,000 tons per year of SSP, alone. The facility also blends approximately 300,000 tons a year and moves on average 200 trucks per day. Because of the location – the plant in Cuatao only trucks product to and from the field in Sao Paulo State. Mosaic not only provides fertilizer for crops, they also process about 100,000 tons of animal feed a year. Currently, the Mosaic facility has gone seven years without an accident. When we talk about the beauty of the mountain side it really refers to the tropical wooded area. Mosaic mentioned that thirty years ago the mountain side was barren and they, along with several other companies, planted the trees to make a positive improvement on the environment. Now, the mountain side has an abundance of trees that are full of rich green foliage.

We left the Mosaic facility and headed down to Cargill’s location in Guaruja. Getting into the facility seemed to be our most difficult task of the morning. As we moved down the highway – we saw miles and miles and miles of trucks – filled with soybeans waiting to unload. Cargill is currently running four shifts 24 hours a day, nearly 365 days a year (with the exception of Christmas and New Years). At any given time there are three shifts working around the clock while one shift rests. The trucks travel anywhere from 200 to 2,000 km and it take them approximately two days depending on their distance from Guaruja. The trucks can wait in line anywhere from twelve to eighteen hours to unload their vehicles. After our briefing we took a walking tour of the facility. We were shown the mounds of soybeans in the storage warehouses. On site storage is broken into two warehouses; one that holds 30,000 tons and another with a capacity of 60,000 tons for a total of 90,000 tons of soybean storage on site. On a normal day they can load about 2,000 tons/hour and unload around 23,000 tons/day. The Guaruja location assists in loading approximately 150 vessels a year (that includes handy size, panamax and cape size vessels). The facility also holds approximately 110,000 tons of bulk sugar on site. Following our walking tour we headed down to the docks where we loaded a couple of tour boats and took a tour of the harbor. It allowed us a sea level view of the harbor, the container loading and unloading, and the vessels.

We wrapped up with an early afternoon and headed back to Sao Paulo. From there we jumped on a very short international flight to Buenos Aires where we’ll stay until we head home on Saturday evening.

All in all a great day!

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