May 27, 2020 / 4:40 PM / 2 months ago

Key Brazil port resumes loading grains after COVID-19 case halted ops

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Loading of grains and other products at the port of Paranaguá, Brazil’s second largest, resumed normally on Wednesday after a case of COVID-19 paralyzed work in berth 214 for about 24 hours, according to the port authority.

Soybean loading at that berth was halted after a crew member of a vessel tested positive for the respiratory illness. It was the first confirmed case of the disease reported at Paranagua port since the coronavirus outbreak began, the port authority said.

The ill crew member is a Filipino who is now being treated at a local hospital, according to the port authority. Other crew members on the Mv Clymene vessel have also been tested for the novel coronavirus but their test results were not available.

Brazil’s health agency Anvisa ordered the vessel to be quarantined until further notice.

The berth where operations were halted starting in the small hours of Monday has capacity to load at least 40,000 tonnes of soy per day, the port authority said.

The brief interruption in loading sparked concern that grain shipments could be disrupted amid the pandemic. Yet so far Brazil’s soy exports have not been affected, with local oilseeds traders registering record monthly shipments.

For May, significant new soy export volumes are expected.

Reporting by Roberto Samora; Writing by Ana Mano; Editing by David Gregorio

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