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Big year for Ceará Free Trade Zone

The recent investment and expansion of Ceará free trade zone has attracted the attention of world experts. Pecem Port has just received one of the top accolades in the annual Global Free Zone awards. This combined with a significant uptick in handling at the port this year firmly places Pecem Port on the world map for trade.

fDi Magazine compiles an annual list of the best free trade zones in the world. Up until now, those in Brazil have mostly remained off the publication’s radar but this year Ceará free trade zone has been named the best in Latin America and the Caribbean for Large Tenants.

In the awards for 2016, Pecem Port features not just at the top of its class for Large Tenants but also receives three other high recommendations in the listings. In the Bespoke Awards, Ceará free trade zone gets prizes for supporting education and training, infrastructure upgrades and expansions. The top prize for Large Tenants plus the hat trick of Bespoke Awards brings Pecem Port to the forefront of free trade zones in Brazil.

Highlights at Ceará free trade zone

The report from fDi Magazine praises Pecem’s Port capacity and innovation. It highlights the vocational training centre located in the free trade zone as well as the new infrastructure. Latest upgrades allow large containers known as post-Panamex ships to dock at the port.

Pecem Port has also undergone massive expansion. From 5.3 million square metres, space at the Port now totals over 9.85 million square metres. Much of the expansion includes the installations for Pecem Steel Corporation (CSP in Brazilian) where production of steel plates started earlier this year.

Over the last three years, investment at Ceará free trade zone has totalled R$6.12 billion and created 16,000 jobs, both direct and indirect. Analysts predict that once steel production at Pecem Port reaches full capacity in 2020, it will account for 12 per cent of the state’s GDP and for 48 per cent of its industrial output.

Record activity at Ceará free trade zone

Pecem Port authorities and the Ceará state government have welcomed the fDi Magazine awards and emphasise the huge potential for the free trade zone. This year, activity at the Port has reached record levels.

Based on handling between January and September this year, the authorities are predicting a total of over 10 million tonnes for 2016. This figure will represent 25 per cent more than 2015. In addition, it will be the largest amount ever and considerably ahead of the previous record of 8.1 million tonnes set in 2014.

Since Ceará free trade zone opened in 2002, Pecem Port has experienced an annual growth rate of 29 per cent. 2016 has been a particularly notable year and within it, September. Handling during this month alone reached 1.1 million tonnes, a massive 90 per cent more than the same month last year.

October and November are also expected to be excellent months for cargo handling. Fruit exports reach their peak during these two months and Ceará ranks as one of the largest fruit exporters in Brazil. This combined with increased steel plate production points to a record autumn for Pecem Port.

“The fDI Magazine accolades are excellent news for Ceará,” says Dies Poppeliers, Managing Director of BRIC Group. “They firmly place Ceará free trade zone on the world map and underline the importance of Pecem Port for the area as a whole.”

An investment company specialising in global real estate opportunities, BRIC Group is currently developing The Coral resort, in Northeast Brazil, a luxury beachfront resort. BRIC Group also offers US real estate investments including turnkey properties in Florida and Houston, and land plots in Florida. BRIC Group has been creating wealth for its clients since 1996 and has offices in Brazil, Dubai (consulting office), Hungary, Spain and the US.

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