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Investment in Ceará creates new logistics and tech hub

According to Exame, a leading Brazilian economic publication, Ceará is Brazil’s new logistical and technological hub. The monthly magazine highlights recent investment in Ceará, strong economic growth and a privileged geographical position as the main factors behind the surge in the state’s importance at national level.

The article published in the magazine at the end of August extolls the virtues of Ceará in terms of logistics and technology. The state, located in the far northeast of Brazil, stands out for a number of reasons. When combined, they make Ceará one of the most important logistical and technological hubs in the country.

Digital hub in Ceará

The Exame article looks first at the digital side of investment in Ceará, specifically fibre optic cables in the state. Ceará is already known for its digital advancements and has submarine fibre optic cable connections with the US and Europe.

The latest investment in Ceará will link Brazil (and by extension, South America) with Africa. State authorities recently visited Angola to oversee the start of the installations, financed entirely by Angola Cables. The Angola-Ceará cable has an investment of US$160 million and the company plans to build a high-tech data centre in Ceará with an addition investment of US$30 million.

High education in Ceará

One of the state’s attractions lies in its high level of education. 77 of the 100 best state schools in Brazil are in Ceará. Furthermore, the state is home to the top 24 schools in the listing. Quality schools attract investment and Exame reports that high levels of education are one of the main reasons behind big investment in Ceará.

According to Exame, the latest fibre optic investment will bring with it huge IT opportunities for Ceará and its Digital Belt. The tandem of qualified labour and technological infrastructure in place is expected to draw high investment levels over the next few years.

Strong economic growth

Over the last decade, Ceará has stood out as one of the best performing states in Brazil in terms of economic growth. 2017 is no exception. The state’s GDP growth in Q2 this year reached 2.17%, way over the national rate of 0.2%.

Logistical hub

As well as Brazil’s new technological hub, Ceará is also a rising star for logistics. Exame lists two fundamental sites for logistics in the state: Fortaleza International Airport and Pecem Port.

Fortaleza International Airport was bought by the German company Fraport earlier this year. The new management has ambitious plans for improvement and extension of facilities at the airport.

They are also widening the airport’s reach by adding new flights to new locations. The latest on the table is a pending agreement with Air France and KLM. If Fraport’s bid is successful, Fortaleza Airport will offer direct flights to Paris and Amsterdam in early 2018.

The biggest investment in Ceará

But Pecem Port is the big one when it comes to investment, not only in Ceará but also in Brazil. The industrial port received one of the largest private investments in the country when the CSP steel production plant set up in the complex. A joint venture between Brazilian and South Korean companies, CSP is already on track for producing 3 million tonnes of steel plate this year.

Pecem Port is also home to the only Processing and Export Zone (ZPE in Brazilian) in the country. The zone, which enjoys special tax status, is attracting strong interest from foreign companies keen to invest in Ceará and Brazil.
The latest comes from the Chinese Medical Health Company (Meheco), one of the largest manufacturers of medical equipment in the world. Meheco intends to build a factory in the Pecem ZPE for high-tech medical machines.

Record cargo handling

Since 2015, Pecem Port has continually broken its own records for cargo handling. According to port authorities, Pecem handled over 10.2 million tonnes between January and August this year. This represents an increase of 68% on the same period in 2016.

Imports rose by 49% to over 7.7 million tonnes while exports registered an even more impressive figure. In the first eight months of the year, Pecem port handled 2.4 million tonnes of exports, 183% more than last year.

Geographical privilege

The final factor behind the success of investment in Ceará lies, according to Exame, in its geographical position. The state, known as “the corner of the Atlantic”, is the nearest point in South America to Europe. The African continent lies four days away by sea. Europe is eight days away and the US coast is seven. This privileged location takes Ceará to another level logistically.

(source: Exame, Diaro do Nordeste)

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