1A close look at the spatial distribution of Brazilian ports throughout the last decades has shown an unprecedented process in the history of this country. The legal landmark of these changes was Law 8630/1993 – known as “Port Modernization Law”. It has not only affected public terminals, by modernizing them. It has also allowed for the rapid expansion of facilities, and the range of performance in private terminals in operation in the country.
2The modernizing effort intended by the law aimed at solving an historical problem of infrastructure and logistics in the country. Brazilian trade suffers the effects of administrative and technical difficulties for the circulation of goods in the internal market and, mainly, for exportation. In the first years following the approval of the law, efforts seemed to concentrate on the privatization of the operations in docks located in public terminals. However, in the last two decades, there has been a significant increase in the number of concessions for the construction and operation of private use terminals. A large amount of private and public investments are being directed to the construction of port complexes, with important impacts on local dynamics.
3Assuming as a premise of this analysis the argument that goes beyond the concept of ports as a mere infrastructure, our analysis relies on two questions. Would we talk about two different and disconnected kinds of territorial dynamics due to the installation of those port complexes? Would we acknowledge that traditional local organizations and dynamics are being ignored by the corporations’ logic, resulting in the aggravation of the impacts to the municipalities?
4To find some answers, we intend to bring to light, within the new territorial configuration that seems to be emerging in a specific way in Brazil. In this paper we will give special attention to a region of the Brazilian cost. In our research we are trying to find some elements in the interface between the logic regulated by global markets and the logic related to local context or conditions. So that we can give some contributions to public policies with benefits to local societies.
5Despite the importance of this theme, the relation between ports and territory is rarely an object of geographical analysis in Brazil. Moreover, when this theme appears, it is with restricted attention to the impacts of this new organization on local dynamics. In these cases, authors frequently point out that the problem is that local development has not been considered by public politics. Although we agree with those authors we want to go a little further in this study. We will try to indicate that in the case of those new dynamics in Brazil, it is necessary to add another aspect emphasized by Becker (1995) about the importance of logistics as a new rationality in the organization of territories.
6In this study, we analyze what is currently happening in the Northern region of Rio de Janeiro State known as “Norte Fluminense” (fig.1), considered one of the poorest in the state. This region has been historically depended on government support to keep an agriculture-based economy (sugar and etanol), and low productive agriculture, cattle raising and artisan fishing. Therefore, it was named as a "problem area" by Cruz (2003).
Fig.1 – Administrative regions of the state of Rio de Janeiro
Source: Biazo e Marafon (2008)
7Bernardes (2003) drew his attention to the fact that the region has developed an agriculture based on the sugarcane monoculture which experienced constant crises and oscillation for many years. The concurrence of São Paulo state’s sugar production has deteriorated this scenario, mostly since the 1950’s, leading to a process of rural-urban migration (Alentejo, 2005). In the 1980’s and 1990’s, in a context of stagnation/slowdown of the national economy, the region was plunged into a national framework of deep economic crisis.
8This situation was partially modified by the payment of oil royalties from the Campos Basin. From the late 1990s, with the discovery of oil fields, the region entered a new phase of development with the growing influx of resources, guaranteed by laws regulating the distribution of oil royalties. Nowadays, oil royalties account for, in average, more than 50% of municipal resources. And that have been the main reserves that ensure the necessary physical conditions for land use. These royalties are destined to infrastructure works or to financing economic activities. For local governments, such power of institutional action could be materialized through new laws intended to regulate land use, and clear the legal hurdles necessary to the installation of these two Port Complexes (fig.2).
Fig. 2: Açu Logistics-Industrial Complex and Barra do Furado Logistics-Naval Complex
Source: Fundação Cide. Governo do Estado do Rio de Janeiro.
9In this region, the municipalities of São Joao da Barra, Campos dos Goytacazes, and Quissamã received to Port Complex - The Açu Logistics-Industrial and Barra do Furado Logistics-Naval Complexes. Big private entrepreneurs have begun to install, in the last few years, two great port terminal complexes attached to industrial clusters inside their facilities. It is important to note that the construction of this kind of port project is a recent increasing tendency in Brazil.
10With investment from BNDES, Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Social (a federal public bank), Rio de Janeiro State Government and from Municipalities, the first Complex installed was the Açu Logistics-Industrial Complex. Its construction started in 2007, in the municipality of São João da Barra. Run by LLX Company, the Complex is part of the MMX/EBX project called Minas-Rio (as it connects the Açu Port to an iron ore plant in the state of Minas Gerais through a 462 km long pipeline).
11The Açu Complex project included the construction of an iron ore port terminal, and other terminals for loading/unloading coal, general cargo (container, granite and steel products), and bulk liquids (ethanol, petroleum derivatives and liquefied natural gas). There will also be two offshore mooring berths designed to receive oil from the Campos Basin. This port can accommodate Cape Size, Chinamax and VLCC ships. According to the project, the Açu port could also handle palletizing and thermoelectric plants.
12Adjacent to the Port area, an Industrial District will be installed, under the responsibility of the Rio de Janeiro State Government. In the Industrial District, a Special Business Zone, ZEN, will also be implemented and managed by municipal authorities. The Industrial District is intended for the construction of steel plants, gasification units, automotive and metalworking companies, refineries, thermoelectric power plants, warehouses, and various kinds of logistics business. In July 2010, the municipality of São João da Barra disclosed the information that 73 enterprises have submitted projects to be installed in the Açu Complex.
13The EBX Company indicates the following natural and logistics’ conditions for the installation of the Açu Complex in São João da Barra:
14- an 18 meters deep draft, with no need of dredging;
15- geographical position that favors its transformation into a sinker port for production from Minas Gerais state;
16- closeness to oil and natural gas production from the Campos Basin and the Espírito Santo state, making the Açu Complex an important option for the installation of oil industry support activities;
17- direct link to BR-101 highway and to Central Atlantic railway;
18- existence of a large, available, sparsely populated and low land cost area, reducing the initial investments needed to implement the project.
19Nearly 25km far from the Açu Complex, the construction of another infrastructure, the Barra do Furado Logistics-Naval Complex, has started in 2010. It is located on the Canal das Flechas, a river between the municipalities of Campos dos Goytacazes and Quissamã (fig.3). The Barra do Furado Complex will cover an area of 12km². The Port is projected to have 11 berths, a field pipe inspection, and subsea equipment repair areas.
20Managed by Edison Chouest, Alusa, and STX companies, the Barra do Furado Complex was projected to have, on the left bank of Canal das Flechas, in Quissamã, some port facilities. Operated by Aker Promar Company, on the right bank (in Campos dos Goytacazes), the Complex will have an offshore support base. It will be and destined to the construction and repair services for the Campos Basin. A special area along the Canal das Flechas has been reserved to operate as a Special Business Zone, ZEN. In this zone will be located facilities to support industrial and port activities with 2% reduction on ICMS (a state tax on production, distribution, and retailing of goods). The installation of a support center for sea fishing is also being considered.
Fig.3 – Barra do Furado Complex
Source: http://www.quissama.rj.gov.br. Obtained on 29/08/2011.
21Some strategic conditions are emphasized as attractive to the installation of Barra do Furado Complex:
22- strategic position between Campos Basin (75km), Macaé (70km), and the Açu Complex (25km). Being an option to the Imbitiba Port (in the neighboring municipality of Macaé), the main offshore support base in Brazil, that is nowadays facing capacity problems;
23- access to the BR-101 highway, the main link in Southeastern Brazil;
24- availability of qualified workers coming from the advanced campus of Universidade Federal Fluminense, in Quissamã.
25In both cases - Açu Logistics-Industrial Complex and Barra do Furado Complex - the conditions, included in the terrritory, are proven catalysts for the installation of these Port Complexes. Designed as economic outputs, these Port Complexes will, according to authorities, transform the Northern region of Rio de Janeiro into an attractive region to develop such activities.
26In spite of territorial conditions highlighted by the companies, not unique in this region, it is necessary to evaluate the impacts of those complexes in local development. Therefore, we will try to make an analysis that may lead us to understand the territorial dynamics arising from the installation of those Complexes.
- 1 Santos’ notion of flat space is based on Deleuze and Guattari’s (1997) conceptions. These authors i (...)
27First of all, it is important to understand why these Port Complexes were installed in this region cconsidered as a "problem area" with sluggish economy. Some clues can be found if we consider the size of the projects. Thus, one can assume that the location of those Complexes in the aforementioned municipalities is related to small resistance towards capital expansion. It is, in the words of Milton Santos (1993), a flat space (“espaço liso”1). In this space the social and cultural rules are extremely fragile in face of political pressures related to the interests of national and international actors.
28The Açu Complex, for example, will occupy little less than a half of the total area of São João da Barra municipality. Besides the port area itself, the surrounding area will cover approximately 7000 square meters, and the Industrial District, 100 million square meters (Figure 4).
Fig. 4 – São João da Barra municipality and the dimensions of Açu Complex
Source: http://www.sjb.rj.gov.br/ Obtained on 14/03/2011.
29Under the effect of the incorporation of these large extensions to the Açu Port Complex, it is not a surprise that some conflicts were to occur in the municipality. Conflicts between local people and this kind of big businesses are not unprecedented in the history of our country. Cases related to people affected by dams, large mining, and construction are some recent examples. Saved the proper proportions and peculiarities, the Açu Port Complex bears the mark so common in conflicts caused by processes of expropriation and compulsory evacuation of entire populations. In this case, it has been translated into a state of conflict between residents of São João da Barra and the company responsible for the port – LLX.
30The LLX Company is the spearhead of the capitalist penetration in the city, heading the project, attracting partners - national and international - for investments in the complex. But the company also operates by delimiting exclusive territories, denying access to areas of traditional use, such as fishing and farming and family ranching. We must also consider the acquisition of properties surrounding the original area, with effects on the increment of land value, and population concentration in the city of São João da Barra.
Fig.5 – Expropriated farm in São João da Barra
Obtained during a fieldwork in June 2011.
31The expropriated area corresponds mostly to a sandbank with sandy soils occupied by small and medium-sized family farms producing for the local market (fig.5). The process of expropriation, including compensation and settlement of owners (a kind of model settlement) is done based on the size of the lots, and productivity in existing factories. The population has reacted with anger and mistrust. The owners believe that these criteria do not take into account the views of residents and the reasons that keep them there. Many of them refuse even to answer questionnaires and interviews conducted by state contractors. In addition, there have been some manifestations, from peaceful movements outside the City Hall, even a more radical one resulting in the closing of BR-356, a federal highway that goes through the city (fig.6).
Fig.6 – Farmer’s protest in são João da Barra
Source : André Pinto, 2009
32Despite the construction of the Barra do Furado Port Complex is still in its beginning, one should expect a situation similar to what has occurred in São João da Barra. Similarly to this municipality, Barra do Furado has its economy based on incipient tourist activities and fishing.
33One should consider that expropriation means, in practice, the destruction of these communities; both literally – due to dismantling of buildings, houses, farms, stores, and churches; as symbolically – by the breaking of bonds of solidarity and belonging. What we assume is that the fragility of the local population, owing to the advance of financial capital, seems to get worse in the context of a new territorial dynamics.
34Underlying this dynamics is the organization of business territories in which the port is the main node of a logistics network that surpasses scales, links distant places, and ignores locations. According to Becker (1995), logistics appears as a new rationality in the organization of territories.
35As explained above, in Brazilian ports organization the nowadays tendency is to install large port complexes. A model known as "land lord ports", a type of port that "moves away from the city". The efficiency of port traffic takes priority over the quality of the relation between the port and its neighboring area. Nearly all over the world, this model of port is organized as terminals increasingly more distant from urban centers, leaving the operation of port activities to private operators.
36Some cities in the world depend almost exclusively on their ports, the so-called port-cities: Rotterdam, Hamburg, Antwerp, Le Havre, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Shanghai; in Brazil, Santos and Paranaguá. However, there are other cities in which the port is not so important in the daily lives of their inhabitants: New York, London, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro.
37In Brazil, the distance/gap between cities and ports is not a current exception. When port activity was a federal attribution, port authorities acted as if they were not in the municipalities. The main focus is on port operations, reception and dispatch of goods.
- 2 Joint stocks companies whose majority shareholders is Brazil’s federal government.
38The Port Modernization Law (Law 8630/1993) proposed the transfer of port administration to local governments. However, few are the ports where Docas Companies2 were replaced by Port Administration Advice truly occupied by city representatives. In addition, the 8630/1993 Law expanded the possibilities to the installation of ports for private-use in Brazil. This type of port is administered by private companies. Thus, in the years following the sanction of the law, efforts seemed to focus on the privatization of port operations in public-use terminals. However, in recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of concessions to construct and operate private-use terminals.
- 3 Public-use terminals are port terminals designated to provide public service for handling and housi (...)
39Currently, the Brazilian port system is composed of 37 public ports and 45 terminals for private-use.3 Designed for handling and storing goods related to the activities own to a single company, private use ports can be of two types: exclusive use terminals (to self-handling cargo); and private terminals, which, besides loading their own goods, can move cargo from other companies.
40The Açu and Barra do Furado Port Complexes are being benefited from other advantage obtained with the Port Modernization Law. They must overcome the technical difficulties of loading-unloading cargo and the high costs in Brazilian public ports (Rio de Janeiro, Itaguaí, Santos and Vitoria). In addition they can shift cargo belonging to other companies. These changes have turned private terminals into an important opponent to public ports.
41It’s important to notice that the Açu and Barra do Furado Port Complexes seem to move away from the condition of 3rd generation ports (table 1). In this case, the relationship between port and city should be strengthened. In 3rd generation ports, the links between the port, the city and its users, overcome the conception of ports as places of arrival and dispatch of goods.
Table 1 – Classification of ports, according to UNCTAD
Source: Goebel, 2002.
42Despite the limits on strengthening the ties between port, city and users, some official or non official analysis present Barra do Açu and Barra do Furado Port Complexes not only as distinct ports. They are shown also as logistic complexes that add a set of centralized activities and flows in the port, approching distinct and distant places.
43Regarding the (re)territorial configuration in the Northern region of Rio de Janeiro, a first look reveals the distance or, in other words, an absence of relationship between those Port Complexes and the reality of the municipalities of São João da Barra, Quissamã and Campos dos Goytacazes. On one hand, they are cities with economic activities not included in the objectives proposed by these port projects. On the other hand, the low qualified population, with experience, mainly, in farming, at most could be absorbed as workers in some activities of civil construction. Only 1% of the population has tertiary education (Piquet, 2010). Modern ports and industrial activities and services require highly qualified workers.
44It also be noted that the Açu and Barra do Furado Complexes establish important connections with other nodes in a logistics network. This could be identified from the installation of some business in other nearby cities with similar economic and social conditions. So, it seems that the municipalities of São João da Barra, Quissamã and Campos dos Goytacazes are, in practice, being neglected. This could be related, as explained in Haesbaert (2006), to the configuration of a network-territory (“território-rede”) which has in logistics rationality the basis to territorial organization.
45Perhaps this is the great novelty of our postmodern space-time experience, in which controlling the space necessary to our social reproduction does not only mean controlling areas and defining "boundaries", but, especially, living in networks, where our own identification and spatial-symbolic references are made not only in our rooting and in (always relative) stability, but in the mobility itself. [...]. So, with more immaterial burden, or more properly, combining, in a much more complex way, the material and the immaterial, contemporary networks, as components of the territorialization processes, are discontinuous, fragmented, overlapped territories, quite distinct from the dominant territorial configuration in the classical modernity. (Haesbaert, 2006, p.279-81, our translation).
46The network-territories are superficial geographical expressions of discontinuous territories. Although they are interrelated, they are also symbolic, informational, commercial, economic, cultural and politically interdependent. The territorial continuity is given by the nodal articulation of socio-spatial relations.
47We assume also that some types of modern ports neglect cities. They work as a central node of a logistic network with connections with distant points of the territory (thus setting up a territory-network). Considering this a premise of our analysis, we will try to identify logistics as an element of a new rationality in territorial configuration of the Rio de Janeiro’s Northern region.
48First, it must be remembered that the term logistics gained expression only in the 18th century. It was used by the military with the meaning of quartering, lodging and camping troops, giving direction to the marching columns and positioning them in the battle field. It was Antoine Henri Jomini, a military strategist serving in the Napoleon army, who placed emphasis on logistics. He treated it as one of the most important aspects of military interest. One of the six branches of the "Art of War", along with strategy, tactics, engineering and tactics of the different weapons.
49Logistics includes, as such, the necessary resources and organization to implement strategy and tactic plans. Strategy decides where to act, logistics brings the troops to that point, tactics decide how to implement and employ the troops. Logistics is the art of moving troops. To Jomini, it includes orders and details of marches and camps, beyond the quartering of troops and supply. In other words, it is the execution of strategic and tactic projects, the practical art of moving armies.
50In Jominie Antoine’s approach, military logistics has evolved to be incorporated as a principle of companies’ organization. It was from the industrial development of the 18th and 19th centuries and, especially, in the early 20th century, that the huge expansion of railways, waterways and airports led to the incorporation of logistics within the strategies of the economy of movement. Notably, in the second post-war, the installation of U.S. companies in Northern Europe allowed for "... the beginning of what we now call product logistics distribution” (Baudouin, 2003, p.29).
51The logistics of some companies reproduce the concerns of military logistics. Related to the movement of inputs and outputs, in time and space, the principles of military logistics were fast incorporated into everyday activities. Also, the term logistics has been spread by the media as an activity related to maintenance, routing, transport and international transit of goods from production to consumption.
52With transportation and distribution costs accounting for about 50% of product cost, logistics came to occupy a strategic position in the organization of companies. In recent decades, logistics has become, for most companies, the great distinguishing aspect in administrative management. It includes marketing activities, management of physical distribution, materials management, transportation system, traffic management, product storage, product handling and packaging, inventory control, acquisition of production scheduling, entry and processing order, information system and strategic planning.
53As emphasized by Becker (1995), the organization of logistic networks appears as a central vector in territories restructuring, making up the backbone of the territory.
54The new industrial mode, deeply related to the changes engendered by the Scientific-Technical Revolution and based on constant innovation and accelerated rate, led to the creation of a new space-time relationship structure. To this, we add the concern with space and time control. Since then, what is valued is the selection of vehicles and vectors to ensure perpetual movement - involving control of present and future time - selection of places subordinated to it - the speed is the essence of technology, and logistics is the contemporary stage of military intelligence inherent to speed, surpassing the strategy that was subject to it. (BECKER, 1995, p.291, our translation)
55Logistics occupies a prominent position being considered by some authors as an important rationality in territory organization.
56We notice the presence of a new and larger scale rationality: the imposition of a spatial order linked to a conception of global space, logistics, generating a social and political space consisted of a set of links, connections, communications, networks and circuits. (Lefebvre, quoted in Becker, 2006, our translation)
57Although, it appears mainly in corporative territories’ organization, as emphasized by Becker (2006).
58Globalization and market opening impose new competitive standards based on exporting and privatization of social capital, within an economic restructuring that results in more power to corporations. Logistics allows corporations to create, in short time and full scale, large corporative territories that tend to incorporate, submit or exclude territories belonging to less powerful social groups, and stimulate expansion of the agricultural frontier. (Becker, 2006, p.2 our translation)
59Despite its rapid expansion in business activities, only in recent decades has logistics been considered as rationality incorporated into Brazilian public policies directed to territory organization, such as the National Policy for Logistics and Transportation.
60Also, despite the progress made, logistics appears essentially as an economic concept. A technical device for combined management of stocks and flows that ensures good circulation of material objects. Belonging to geographical research, as highlighted by Jacques Levy (2003), the association between spatial perspective and spatial logics is related to logistics choices. In the field of geographical research, the author points out that attention can be given to devices used in the definition of logistics networks, the properties of these networks, their ability to create perennial places as a base to activities connected to circulation, as well as to the relationship between logistics networks and territory.
61In Brazil, according to Bertha Becker (2006), the logistics trends oriented to exportation established by some major companies such as Petrobras, CVRD, Bunge and Cargill, has required the reconfiguration of the Brazilian territory, tending to overlap the regional differentiation that characterizes the imaginary and the history of the country.
62The logistics of these corporations has become a central element of territory organization. These are companies, which have become the most powerful agents in restructuring the territory. They concentrate the command of logistics structures intended to speed up their actions over the structures implemented by the State. Through logistics, these corporations organize, quickly and in wide scale, important corporate territories.
63Banks and multinational companies incorporate selected areas in their global systems, delimiting territories with various features that are part of planetary sets... (Becker, 1995, p.292, our translation)
64Thus, in the configuration of network-territories it stands out the enormous power of corporations that result from its ability to organize and manage these networks. What has contributed to the increased power of these companies in Brazil is the decrement of government management in various sectors - in the Brazilian port sector stands out the privatization and deregulation occurred from the 1990s.
65The power of these companies’ networks is central to the organization of worldwide logistics, resulting in the organization of corporate territories which can "connect distant places and ignore the surroundings, trespass typical institutional and administrative boundaries, and break traditional hierarchical conceptions" (Becker, 2006, p.5, our translation).
66Thus, in spite of logistics be considered by the private capital in the reorganization of corporate territories, governments ignore this new important logics for setting public policies, resulting in huge losses to the local society.
67In that context, would it be possible to ensure collective interests against market forces? (Foulquier, 2011). Should we consider the idea of "perverse logistics"? In this case, it seems to be necessary to incorporate logistics as rationality in territory organization with benefits to local societies. A possible path should be redefining federal and local public agenda (CONTOIS & SLACK, 2003).
68Recognizing its important role in logistics networks and considering their capacity to concentrate considerable volumes of products, as well as their connections to roads, railways, information centers, multimodal terminals, and inland customs stations, Açu and Barra do Furado Port Complexes should be understood as important nodes of a logistics chain that integrate the territory considered in this study as a network-territory.
69Considering the stage in which such Complexes are, it is necessary to extend this analysis to the future. The implementation of companies and service units connected to these Complexes might indicate a design that will confirm the organization of a network-territory which ignores the local scale. However, it seems evident that while logistics has been quickly incorporated into the business domain, the same has not happened in the public and social sectors. Heavy and rigid structures of this one, and lack of economic means and information of other one pose difficult to logistics management (Becker, 2006). As a result, less powerful social groups have their territories incorporated, submitted or excluded by the logic of large companies, endangering control of national territory by the Union. The occurrence of some conflicts in São João da Barra in the last 2011 is an important sign of this situation. It is obvious that local traditional dynamics in those municipalities of Rio de Janeiro’s Northern region has being ignored.
70According to Bertha Becker (2006), in a context in which logistics dynamics prevails without an effective State regulation, a serious and undesirable degradation of regional inequalities is expected.
71In face of the uncertainty of who controls logistics systems and of the social risks inherent to it, partnership of all actors involved in the development process - including public planners – it is essential to set boundaries, and influence this process towards a democratic direction, involving a great deal of creativity and redefinition of the role of the State." (Becker, 1993, p.61).Thus, faced with the inevitable presence of those Port Complexes in the region we indicate as necessary and desirable the incorporation of logistics as a rationality to be considered in territorial policies. With effective participation of different segments at local, regional and national levels this may lead to the productive valorization of the territory with benefits to society as a whole.