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Brazil Said to Seek 50 Billion Reais of Port Investments

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff will announce a plan to auction concessions to operate 15 ports and build others as part of an effort to attract 50 billion reais ($24.7 billion) of investment, said a government official familiar with the plan.

The government, which will make the announcement in the second half of September, aims to increase investments and competition between terminal operators to reduce bottlenecks and freight costs, said the official, who asked not to be identified because the discussions aren’t public. Auctions would take place starting in 2013.

Rousseff’s press office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Greater integration between roads, railways and ports can reduce logistics costs by more than 30 percent during the next five years, the official said, citing government estimates. Today’s comments come a week after Brazil’s government said it will sell licenses to build and operate roads and railways that will require as much as $66 billion in investments over 30 years to help spur the world’s biggest emerging market after China.

Inadequate road and rail infrastructure has limited Brazil’s growth as the country prepares to host the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament and the 2016 Olympic Games. Rousseff said the infrastructure challenges stem from a decade of underinvestment.

Brazil’s central bank expects gross domestic product to expand 2.5 percent this year, down from 2.7 percent in 2011 and 7.5 percent in 2010.

Policy makers will announce concessions to build new ports in Manaus, Ilheus and Imbituba, the official said today. The government is working with port users and operators to identify ports that are uncompetitive, lack capacity or have underused space, the official added.

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