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Brazil’s Infrastructure for Sale in 2020

The Brazilian Report

By the end of 2020, the Brazilian government expects to have completed at least 18 projects of selling off public property, including public-private partnerships, privatizations, concessions, and leases. Estimated investments from these infrastructure projects total over R$27.7 billion ($6.4 billion). The Brazilian Report compiled a list of the potential privatizations on the horizon for 2020.

Ongoing private-public infrastructure projects


Airport Infrastructure

After thesuccessful auctions of a dozen publicly-owned Brazilian airports in 2019, the federal government intends to sell off an ambitious 22 additional airports this year, divided into three blocks: South, North I, and Central.

The most lucrative block on offer will be in the South, which includes the international airports of Curitiba and Foz do Iguaçu. Around 12.4 million passengers passed through the nine southern airports up for auction in 2019, and interested companies are expected to invest of R$2.9 billion over 30 years.

All three blocks combined come with an expected investment of R$6.7 billion, and are expected to go to auction in the fourth quarter of this year.


New railway lines are key to the government's infrastructure privatization agenda for this year, as theMinistry of Infrastructure seeks to improve the country's ailing railway network. Above all other projects is the so-called Ferrogrão—or "Grain-way"—seen as a potentially key route for grain transport. The plan would take the existing 177-kilometer railway between the cities of Lucas do Rio Verde and Sinop—both in Mato Grosso state—and extend it all the way to the Amazonian port of Miritituba, some 933 km away.

The federal government estimates demand will be 38.3 million tons of cargo in the first year of the railway's operation and 46.8 million tons by 2050. The objective is to make the track an alternative export route for soybean transportation from Mato Grosso, of which 70 percent currently goes to the South and Southeast parts of the country. The auction should take place in the third quarter of 2020, with expected investments of R$3 billion during the first decade of the project.

The other major railway up for concession is the East-West project, which consists of a 1,527 km route stretching from the coastal town of Ilhéus across to Figueirópolis, in the state of Tocantins. It is split into three separate stretches, the first of which—from Ilhéus to Caetité—is nearing completion. The railway aims to facilitate the future outflow of ore from the south of Bahia state and grains from the west to major ports under construction in Ilhéus.


A number of the concession projects in place for 2020 concern the leasing of various port terminals around the country. The biggest undertaking involves the construction of a new terminal at the Port of Suape, in the northeastern state of Pernambuco. The auction is set to take place in the first quarter of this year and should bring in investments of R$1.2 billion.

Elsewhere, there are terminal leases up for grabs in the ports of Aratuba, Itaqui, Paranaguá, and Santos, the country's largest. In total, these remaining projects should attract around R$1 billion in investment.


Finally, there are a number of highway concessions in the public consultation stage, with chances to go to auction at the end of the year. The most prominent concerns the Dutra highway between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, which hosts around 42,000 vehicles a day. The road is currently managed by Concessionária Rodovia Presidente Dutra S/A – Nova Dutra, but the concession contract is up at the end of the year.

The highway linking Sinop and Miritituba—which travels the same route proposed for the future Ferrogrão railway, mentioned above—is also set to be sold before 2021. Despite being a key route for grain transport, the road is in poor condition, with the northern end being largely unpaved.

The Path Ahead

Brazil’s Minister of Infrastructure, Tarcísio Gomes, said earlier this month that the government will deliver one project per week in 2020. Infrastructure investments are clearly at the top of the agenda, as the government hopes to attract local and foreign investment in projects across sectors to bolster both the economy and the government’s coffers. The recent auctioning of the Piracicaba-Panorama highway in São Paulo for R$1.1 billion (with an anticipated R$14 billion to be invested over 30 years), suggests that there is significant interest in these assets at the state and federal level.


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Brazil Institute

The Brazil Institute—the only country-specific policy institution focused on Brazil in Washington—works to foster understanding of Brazil’s complex reality and to support more consequential relations between Brazilian and U.S. institutions in all sectors. The Brazil Institute plays this role by producing independent research and programs that bridge the gap between scholarship and policy, and by serving as a crossroads for leading policymakers, scholars and private sector representatives who are committed to addressing Brazil’s challenges and opportunities.  Read more