The impacts of improving Brazil's transportation infrastructure on the world soybean market
Costa, Rafael de Farias
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The lack of adequate transportation infrastructure in Brazil has been a bottleneck for the soybean producers for many years. Moreover, the costly inland transportation incurred from this bottleneck has resulted in a loss in competitiveness for Brazil compared to other exporting countries, especially the United States. If transportation costs are reduced by introducing improved infrastructure, Brazil is expected to increase its competitiveness in the world soybean market by increasing its exports and producer revenues. On the other hand, the United States and other significant soybean competing exporting countries are expected to lose market share as well as producer revenues. This study uses a spatial equilibrium model to analyze transportation infrastructure improvements proposed by the Brazilian government vis-?-vis enhance the nation?s soybean transportation network. The analyzed transportation improvements are: (i) the development of the Tapaj?s-Teles Pires waterway; (ii) the completion of the BR- 163 highway; (iii) the construction of the Mortes-Araguaia waterway; (iv) the Ferronorte railroad expansion to Rondon?polis and the linkage between the city of Rio Verde to Uberl?ndia; and (v) the Ferropar railroad expansion to the city of Dourados. The model specifies the Brazilian inland transportation network and the international ocean shipments. The model divides Brazil into 18 excess supply regions and 8 excess demand regions. The competing exporting countries are the United States, Argentina, Rest of South America (Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay), Canada, and India. The importing countries are composed of China, European Union, Southeast Asia, Mexico, and the Rest of the World. Results suggest these proposed transportation improvements yield potential noteworthy gains to Brazil with producer revenues increasing more than $500 million and exports increasing by 177 thousand metric tons. Consequently, the world soybean price declines by $1.16 per metric ton and producer revenues and exports in the United States fall by 63 thousand metric tons and $104.89 million, respectively. Although the absolute gains in price, revenues, and exports for Brazil are considerable, they only represent in relative changes 1.48, 2.35, and 0.32 percent, respectively. Similarly, the loss in price, revenue, and export value for the United States is also low, declining by 0.23, 0.23, and 0.12 percent, respectively.