July 23, 2018 / 11:02 PM / 4 months ago

UPDATE 1-China's COFCO says Brazil needs more logistics investments

(Adds details, quotes from executive)

SAO PAULO, July 23 (Reuters) - Brazil could compete better in global agriculture markets if it increased infrastructure investment and diversified its transport network, an executive at COFCO International, the Chinese commodities trader, said on Monday.

Eduardo Gradiz Filho, head of grains and oilseeds for COFCO in the country, said at an agribusiness conference that Brazil’s port infrastructure is adequate but the country still relies too much on trucks to ship farm products, which is inefficient.

Solving what he called “logistical bottlenecks” is Brazil’s greatest challenge over the next few years to leverage its competitive advantage, Gradiz Filho said.

COFCO believes Brazil has the world’s greatest potential to increase food production which is needed to feed a growing global population, especially in Asia.

After a series of acquisitions, COFCO now has 60 percent of its global assets in South America, the world’s No.1 farm-exporting region, according to its website.

Still, shipping soybeans from Brazil’s center-west to port costs up to 30 percent of the price of the oilseed, which is higher than in rival nations, the executive said.

In relation to corn, shipping costs in Brazil over the same route can be up to 50 percent of the price of the cereal, he said.

Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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