The Maritime Sector in Brazil for Danish Companies


Very recently Dilma Roussef the Brazilian President stated that she was immensely proud and touched by the recent achievements of the maritime sector in Brazil. The Brazilian shipyards in 2003 registered some 3000 employees working while in 2013 this number is reaching nearly 70.000 workers. Moreover Dilma affirmed that the Brazilian naval industry will be one of the largest and most representative industries of the world.

Adapted: Exame Business Magazine- Ago 2013

Despite the populist tone used by our President in her statement, what she´s been preaching about the Brazilian Maritime Industry in Brazil seems quite right. Do you know why?

Brief Introduction

Over the last ten years the Brazilian Naval industry has shown a ferocious recovery in comparison to the performance of 2001.

Given the “recent” deep water, Pre- Salt oil fields discoveries, the demand not only for ships but, shipyards and the entire naval ecosystem in Brazil has risen tremendously. The maritime sector in Brazil has gained world-wide projection.

Today, in Brazil, some 300 ships are being built, and according to the president of Sinaval, the Brazilian Union for the Naval sector in Brazil, some 8.000 are being built world-wide.

Brazil has been trading much more with other countries and it has a glaring need for its own ship fleet. Sinaval´s President ( The union for the maritime sector in Brazil) still adds that one of the greatest challenges yet to be faced in South America and Africa are the high freight prices charged, which are among one of the highest freights charged when compared to other countries all over the world.


A short history of the development of the naval industry in Brazil for Danes

The naval industry reached its peak by the end of the decade of 1970. By then, the Brazilian Naval industry employed some 40.000 workers.

It declined during the 80´s and by the end of 1999 it was employing some 600 workers. The recovery of the industry started in 2001/ 2002 when Petrobras, the huge State owned oil and Gas Company, made a few orders offering incentives for locally manufactured vessels.

Besides the orders requested by Petrobras, the federal government launched a Growth Acceleration Program,known as PAC ( Programa de Aceleracao do Crescimento) released in January of 2007 which highlighted the Brazilian Maritime industry as a top priority sector for the Brazilian growth.

In 2008 the federal government included the Brazilian naval as one of the strategic sectors within the Manufacturing Development Policy. This happened due the large number of jobs (direct and indirect) and the amount of money that exists in the sector.

The Scenario of the Maritime Industry in 2013 in Brazil for Danes: A Brief outlook

Sinaval points out that during the first semester of 2013 there were 373 orders in progress. The employments generated in the shipyards were totaling 70.921 people, an increase of 9 thousand people if compared to the results of the end of 2012.

The region that employs the most is the southeast accounting for 42,44% of the total of jobs generated in the sector, followed by the South accounting for 31,77%, followed by the North Region accounting for 14,46% and the Northeast accounting for 11,43%.

Additionally, there are 73 ships being built in local shipyards ( including 23 new contracts recently announced by the giant Petrobras), 66 oil tankers, 13 new production platforms, 16 constructions/module integrations for platforms, 28 drilling rigs, 5 bulk carriers , 3 port container ships, 17 tugboats, and 10 vessels being manufactured specifically for the Brazilian Navy.

The regional poles mentioned above have attracted several huge international firms to install their factories in Brazil and they have now joined the local content program established by the Brazilian government.

 Location of the Brazilian Shipyards

brazilian shipyards 2013

Source: Sinaval Report-2013

A few reasons why Danes should know about Brazilian local content program:

The Brazilian government aims every day to increase the local contentment amount of production of a product and to do so; they are granting many benefits for international companies to install their factories in Brazil, mainly on taxes. But why the Brazilian government is so strict about the Local content program? The answers are simple and listed below:

  • The first and most obvious reason is to protect the Brazilian naval industry;
  • If there is local content produced, know-how stays in the country;
  • Local production will provide the capacity of repairing ships and platforms locally; this means lower costs and more agility, which will boost the dynamic of the sector.
  • Additionally if the local supplier network is expanded there will be more competition in the sector
  • More quality in the service provided will be likely to happen given the higher competitiveness;
  • More jobs opportunities and specialized well-paid jobs that can be sustainable for at least the next 20 years or so…

A few numbers from the maritime segment in Brazil Danes should know about

According to Sinaval, the maritime Oil &Gas segment in Brazil registered during the first semester of 2013, contracts and new businesses for 17 companies, being 14 large multinational corporations. This record shows that corporations are getting adapted to the local content rule, and thereby are establishing factories in Brazil. Below follows spreadsheet taken from Sinaval´s latest balance of activities and deals closed by the companies during the first semester of 2013.

Download (XLSX, 155KB)

Source: Sinaval Report 2013

Another few interesting facts that danes should know about the Maritime sector in Brazil

  • 95% of Brazilian international trade is through the sea
  • 4% is the total transported by Brazilian companies
  • Brazil has large oil fields in deep water, called Pre-Salt.
  • The main challenges the Maritime Industry faces in Brazil today are the lack of qualified personell (opportunities for Danish companies);
  • The high cost of steel. The steel in Brazil can be 40 to 50 % more expensive than what corean shipyards were getting.
  • Petrobras alongside the government are the driving forces of the maritime sector in Brazil.

Did I miss out on something? Let me know. I would also like very much to hear your comments.


Carlos Monteiro is a Brazilian citizen, graduated in Business Administration by the Catholic University of São Paulo. He lives in Odense, Denmark with his Danish Wife, Cathrine, and their half Danish /Brazilian daughter Ines Marie. You are very welcome to be in contact him at any time.
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