(Photo: view of the ACA’s new port under construction in June 2019)

Buenos Aires, July 15th. Timbúes is a small town, at the North of Rosario City, over the Paraná River, in Santa Fe province. But is the chosen place by the largest grain trading companies to mount their new commodities port facilities in Argentina. The world largest soybean crushing cluster is there. It’s owned by Renova, a JV between local company Vicentin and global Glencore, and has 20,000 daily tons crushing capacity. From North to South, the second facility belongs to LDC Commodities and the third to Cofco (former Nidera).

And two new port terminals are building currently. One of them belongs to Aceitera General Deheza (AGD) a local family company and one of the largest veg-oil producer in Argentina. The other is being mounted by the Asociación de Cooperativas Argentinas (ACA), the local largest farm cooperative, which originates 18 MMT of grain per year.

Why all these companies are investing hundreds of million dollars to build new port facilities? The answer is very simple. As Argentina’s grains production increases, mainly driving by corn, wheat and soybean, and the gross of this production is exported, grain trading companies need to expand its logistic, storage, handling, and processing capabilities to sustain its competitiveness.

ACA already owns a port facility in San Lorenzo (close to Rosario City) and operates another terminal in Quequén, in the south of Buenos Aires Province, over the Atlantic Ocean. The Timbúes complex would be the third port for the cooperative.

Currently, the construction of the complex is 70% advanced. The terminal will be able to storage 200,000 tons of grains, thanks to the 21 silos of 8,500 tons each one, plus 10 more silos of 2,000 tons each one.

The grain will be handled with the ultimate conveyor belts system technology that minimizes accidents and operative risks. The port terminal will be able to load Panamax cargoes, with a 3,200 tons per hour of loading capacity, thanks to two lines 1,600 tons each one. In the receipt, the facility will be able to unload 70 trucks (28 tons each one) per hour. The construction of the facility started at the end of 2017 and will require an estimated 140 million dollars investment.

On the other hand, a private-public initiative is bringing the Belgrano Cargas line train to these five port terminals. It implies US$122 million investment, 70% paid by companies and the other 30% by the National State. Access to rail transp0rt will low the logistic costs, and it is expected that one million metric tons of grain will come to these ports next year. The Belgrano Cargas train is an strategic via to bring the grain (mostly soybean) produced in the Northwest of Argentina to the export ports, cheaper than by trucks.

As we said previously, the ACA is one of the biggest grain originators in Argentina. The farm cooperative also exports grains through its ports, for itself or providing services for third parties. According to the official data, during 2017 ACA exported 2.07 MMT of grain from Quequén port and 2.90 MMT from San Lorenzo terminal.

Below: Map of the Timbúes zone, with the location of the five grain terminals over the Paraná River, and the trace of the Belgrano Cargas train.