• [email protected]
  • +55 (27) 3019 - 3681
  • 9 9282 - 5359
  • 9 9949 - 5086
  • Port of Tubarão: Discover Its History


    The construction of the Port of Tubarão, initiated in 1962 by Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD), marked a crucial moment in Brazil’s history and the development of the global mining industry. At that time, CVRD was a state-mixed economy company, and the initiative to build the port was driven by the strategic vision of Eliezer Batista, who was then the company’s president.

    This period also coincided with the signing of the first long-term contracts for iron ore supply to Japan and Germany. These contracts not only secured stable markets for Brazilian production but also were essential for financing the ambitious project of the Port of Tubarão.

    The financing for the port’s construction was a critical part of this equation. While Eliezer Batista faced difficulties with the US Ex-Im Bank, which declined to provide financing, he found a creative solution by using resources from Brazil’s National Treasury. This decision not only showcased Batista’s determination and strategic foresight but also strengthened Brazil’s sovereignty over its natural resources and its capability to develop essential infrastructure for economic growth.

    port of tubarão

    Crafting a Legacy: The Port of Tubarão

    Conceived as a pioneering project, the Port of Tubarão not only became a vital hub for iron ore exports but also revolutionized the global transportation of bulk solids and liquids. Its advanced infrastructure and operational efficiency set new standards in maritime logistics, positively influencing international trade.

    The pivotal role of Japan in this endeavor cannot be overstated. The partnership between Brazil and Japan was crucial to the success of the Port of Tubarão, a collaboration still remembered today with mutual respect and appreciation.

    Thus, the Port of Tubarão stands not only as a milestone in the history of CVRD and Brazil but also as a testament to how strategic vision, determination, and international collaboration can transform and drive the economic and industrial development of a nation.

    Initially seeking financing from the US Ex-Im Bank with iron ore supply contracts in hand, Eliezer Batista, visionary president of then Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD), faced rejection. The American bank’s decision stemmed from skepticism about Brazil as a safe investment destination at the time, coupled with doubts about Vale and Japanese steelmakers’ ability to fulfill commitments.

    This setback posed a significant obstacle for Batista’s project. However, undeterred, he pursued alternatives and ultimately secured support from other sources, including Brazil’s National Treasury, enabling the construction of the Port of Tubarão. This venture would go on to not only mark a milestone for CVRD and Brazil but also for global maritime ore transport.

    The inauguration of the Port of Tubarão in 1966 represented a significant milestone not only for the Brazilian economy but also for its international standing. The port’s pioneering technology and operational efficiency sparked considerable enthusiasm among Japanese investors, who recognized its transformative potential on the global stage.

    This enthusiasm acted as a catalyst for a wave of new foreign investments in Brazil. Companies such as Celulose Nipo Brasileira S.A. (Cenibra), Companhia Siderúrgica de Tubarão, Albrás (alumina and aluminum production), Mineração da Serra Geral (iron ore extraction), and Nova Era Silicon (ferrosilicon alloys production) were among many that chose to establish operations in the country. Additionally, Vale’s joint venture with Kawasaki for California Steel Industries marked Vale’s first major overseas undertaking, showcasing its growing global presence.

    These investments not only diversified the Brazilian economy, strengthening strategic sectors like mining, steel production, and metal alloys, but also helped solidify Brazil’s position as an attractive destination for foreign capital. The effectiveness demonstrated in the construction and operation of the Port of Tubarão helped alleviate economic concerns, including those related to San Tiago Dantas’ authorization for money printing.

    Thus, the inauguration of the Port of Tubarão was not just a logistical and industrial milestone but also a crucial boost for the modernization and internationalization of the Brazilian economy, positively influencing the country’s economic development in the ensuing decades.

    The Evolution of Ore Transport

    In the 1940s, before the construction of the Tubarão Complex, iron ore was shipped through the ports of Vila Velha and Vitória in Espírito Santo. The demand for this transport was driven by World War II around 1942, necessitating an expansion of port capacity to accommodate larger vessels.

    port of tubarão

    The development gained momentum in the 1960s with the beginning of the construction of the Port of Tubarão, marking a new era for the state. Under the leadership of Eliezer Batista, then president of Vale do Rio Doce, significant agreements were signed with global steelmakers. A notable milestone was the agreement to supply 50 million tons of iron ore to Japan over 15 years, contingent upon the construction of a new port.

    Today, with half a century of existence and over 7,000 direct employees, the Port of Tubarão is a center of stories that span generations. Families take pride in recalling the transformations they witnessed and participated in, forming an emotional connection with the complex that continues to play a crucial role in the economy and local community.