Brazil Importing U.S.-Made Ethanol for Second Time This Year

Jan 28, 2014 5:14 pm ET

Jan. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Brazil, the world’s second-largest ethanol producer, is importing the biofuel from the U.S. for the second time this year as most mills shut for the season at the end of the sugar-cane harvest.

Copersucar SA, a sugar and ethanol trading company based in Sao Paulo, is importing 45.7 million liters (12.1 million gallons) of U.S. ethanol, according to Tiago Cardoso, an analyst at Recife, Brazil-based shipping agency Williams Servicos Maritimos, which is handling the cargo.

The vessel Bochem Oslo is scheduled to unload in the ports of Paranagua and Santos in February, he said in a phone interview from Recife. Earlier this month, the vessel Sichem Paris unloaded 14.3 million liters of U.S. ethanol in the port of Itaqui, he said.

“Brazil is, in general, well supplied with domestic product, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see sporadic imports,” Nelson Ostanello, chief executive officer at the Brazilian arm of London-based Greenergy Fuels Holdings Ltd., said in a phone interview from Sao Paulo. “And on top of that, it’s the interharvest season. Mills don’t have any cane to process.”

Mills in Brazil’s Center South, which accounts for about 90 percent of the country’s sugar and ethanol, harvest and process most of their sugar cane between March and November. Unlike corn, the primary feedstock for U.S. ethanol, sugar cane can’t be stored because it goes bad after a couple of days, forcing mills to process the entire crop while harvesting.

An official for Copersucar who isn’t authorized to speak publicly didn’t immediately return a call and an e-mail from Bloomberg News seeking comment.

The U.S. is the world’s largest ethanol producer.

--Editors: Charlotte Porter, Bill Banker