Fire Hampers Ops at Brazil's Santos Port
Trucks carrying commodities and other exports were unable to reach the Guaruja side of Brazil's largest Port of Santos on Friday, a day after containers holding chemicals caught fire and sent poisonous gases into the sky.
A port spokeswoman said access would be restricted while firefighters snuff out the blaze that hit up to a dozen containers at the terminal operated by logistics company Localfrio.
The fire, which caused dozens of people to go to the hospital after breathing the noxious smoke, is considered under control, the spokeswoman said.
With trucks unable to reach the Guaruja side of the port, terminals there may have to rely on stocks, although some products are arriving by train.
Santos is Brazil's main commodities exporting port, but is still a few weeks away from receiving new crop soybeans to export. Brazil is the world's top exporter of soybeans, sugar and coffee and the No. 2 corn exporter.
Besides the Localfrio terminal, a neighboring container terminal operated by Santos Brasil halted operations due to the fire. But the other 53 terminals are operating normally with stocks, the port spokeswoman said.
Representatives at TEAG and TEG bulk sugar and grain terminals in Guaruja said late on Thursday that loading continued despite the nearby fire.
Firefighters are trying to extinguish the blaze without water because the fire started when rainwater mixed on Thursday with the chemical compound dichloroisocyanuric acid at the port.
More than 50 people sought medical attention from inhaling gases released by the fire, according to local media. The mayor of Guaruja has urged residents to stay inside or cover their faces with cloth if they need to go out.
Fires have been common at Santos in recent years. A blaze at a neighboring fuel tank facility in April took a week to snuff out, preventing trucks from unloading soybeans.
Reporting by Roberto Samora