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March 12, 2010

Brazil's Transpetro invites bids for new tug and barge fleet

Petrobras subsidiary Transpetro has initiated Promef Waterway, the waterways version of its Fleet Modernization and Expansion Program (Promef),

On March 10 it sent out letters of invitation to shipyards to bid for contracts to buil 20 "trains" (80 barges and 20 tugboats), that will sail the Tiete-Parana Waterway, transporting ethanol to domestic and foreign markets.

Invitations went to 25 shipyards and Transpetro expects to receive proposals until the end of the first half of the year. Each train will be able to transport 7.200 cubic meters, or 7,2 million liters. The annual transport capacity will reach 4 billion gallons, about 20% of the current market.

The operation of the new waterway trains is part of a Petrobras program that also includes the construction of new ethanol pipelines, collection centers and terminals.

It is expected to that the barge and tugboat building program will generated two thousand jobs -- 400 direct and 1,600 indirect. However the new project is also being billed as the beginning of a necessary change in the Brazil's avaialable transportation options, expanding the use of waterways transport which emits a third of the carbon dioxide of road for the same transported load and consumes almost 75 percent less fuel. The Brazilian Federal Government is planning to increase waterborne transportation's share of loads carried in the country by 13 percent to 29 percent in twelve years. Incentives to waterways and coastal shipping will be the main means of achieving the increase.

Construction of the new Transpetro waterway fleet of Transpetro will follow the basic premises of Promef: manufacturing in Brazil, domestic content of 70% and shipyards to be internationally competitive after a learning curve. The bidding will be open to shipyards already in operation and also to units to be constructed to compete for the program. The new fleet of 20 trains will start to be delivered from 2011.


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