Law and practice of maritime transport in Brazil

Transporte Marítimo Brasil

We are pleased to share with you the general introduction to the law and practice of maritime transport in Brazil published on por Costa, Albino & Lasalvia Advogados

Business overview of the shipping industry

Brazil is the largest country in Latin America. It has a population of approximately 211 million people and a total land mass larger than the Americas, excluding Alaska. It has more than 8,000 kilometers of coastline and 20,000 kilometers of navigable river. Brazil has the 12th largest gross domestic product (GDP) in the world.

In 2021, Brazil held 0.244% of the value of the world’s merchant fleet, by flag of registry, with a total fleet of approximately 5.5 million deadweight tonnage (DWT) and 0.655% DWT under Brazilian ownership. Approximately 50 per cent of this tonnage corresponds to oil tankers, 12 per cent to bulk carriers, 2 per cent to general cargo ships, 14 per cent to container ships and 22 per cent to “other types”.

In 2021, 864 ships were registered under the Brazilian flag. During the same period, Brazil had approximately 29,000 registered seafarers. The throughput of the container port for 2021 was 10,130,740 tons, an increase of 10.71% compared to 2020. These numbers are evidence of the development of the Brazilian shipping market even during the years of the covid-19 pandemic. 19. In 2019, the Brazilian shipbuilding sector was responsible for the production of 142,898 gross tons (GT).

In 2021, Brazil reaffirmed its position as the leading producer and exporter of soybeans (US$28.6 billion), iron ore (US$26.5 billion), crude oil (US$19.8 billion), sugar unrefined (US$8.95 billion) and frozen beef (US$6.69 billion), exporting mainly to China (US$67.9 billion), the United States (US$21.9 billion), Argentina (US$8.57 billion), Holland (US$ 6,700 million) and Canada (US$ 4,390 million), as its main commercial destinations. partners.

Brazil is a major exporter of aircraft, helicopters, spacecraft, and auto and vehicle parts. Brazil’s main export trading partner is China (US$63.358 million), with the United States a distant second (US$29.860 million). Other strong export trade links are the Netherlands, Argentina and Japan.

There are approximately 178 coastal and river ports in Brazil. Of these, approximately 34 are public and 144 are private. Public ports are managed by state port companies or by concession and lease contracts. Private ports account for approximately two-thirds of all cargo movement in Brazil.

Overview of the legislative framework

The legislative framework for shipping is spread over many different statutes. The key legislation is contained in the Brazilian Federal Constitution, the Brazilian Commercial Code of 1850 and the Brazilian Civil Code of 2002, which regulates transportation contracts.

There are also other non-codified statutes, such as Federal Law 2,180/1954, which regulates the Admiralty Court and its jurisdiction, Decree-Law 116/1967, which deals, among others, with the limitation of cargo claims in maritime disputes, and Federal Law 7,542/1986, which regulates the removal of shipwrecks.

Federal Law 10,233/2001 created the Brazilian Water Transport Agency (ANTAQ), whose mandate includes the regulation of national and international river transport of people and goods, navigation on marine platforms and port supply, ports and terminals and the exploitation of the federal river infrastructure.

Federal Law 9,537/1997 regulates the safety of waterways in Brazilian territorial waters, Federal Law 9,432/1997 establishes the legal framework that regulates transport by waterways, while Federal Law 9,611/1998 regulates multimodal transport.

Federal Law 14,301/2022 (Cabotage Law), which was enacted on January 7, 2022, has brought necessary and long-awaited innovations, seeking to facilitate investments, especially from abroad.

The Brazilian Navigation Companies (EBN) are no longer required to own their own fleet and bareboat chartering of foreign vessels will be allowed. The charter is subject to the provisions of the Cabotage Law. Among other new rules, EBNs can now charter foreign vessels without the need for a tonnage test. Under the previous regime, the ability of EBNs to charter foreign vessels was limited by the ANTAQ Regulations.

The EBNs that avail themselves of the new regime must certify their compliance with federal taxes and undertake to periodically present information on the scope of their activities, improvements in the quality of their service, their level of local employment, sustainability and transparency in the costs of the freight. .

The Brazilian Navy, which acts as the Brazilian Maritime Authority, plays an active role in maritime transport. He presides over the procedures processed before the Admiralty Court and issues regulations, which are mandatory law within Brazilian jurisdictional waters, known as NORMAM.

In terms of international conventions, Brazil is not a signatory to the Hague, Hague-Visby, Hamburg or Rotterdam Rules. However, Brazil has ratified most of the conventions on maritime safety, such as COLREGS, SOLAS and the International Convention on Salvage.

Brazil has also ratified the International Convention on Maritime Liens and Mortgages.

In practical terms, the statutory framework outlined above is designed to protect and develop the local shipping market.

Fuente: por Costa, Albino & Lasalvia Advogados

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