Ponta da Madeira

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Ponta da Madeira is a large iron ore loading port in Sao Luis, the Northern part of Brazil, and one of the only terminals in the country suited for the ultra large Valemax ships.[1]

The Ponta da Madeira Maritime Terminal, owned by mining company Vale, sits next to the public Porto do Itaqui, in the state of Maranhão, in northern Brazil. It was chosen as the terminus of the Estrada de Ferro Carajas, where trains unload iron ore for shipping overseas, mainly to Europe and Eastern Asia. The terminal, abutting the Bay of Sao Marcos (St. Mark) has a natural draft of 26 meters (86 feet) at low tide; 14m (46') tides proved a significant problem due to the strong currents generated, but those were circumvented through the placement of underwater concrete "breakers."[2]

The terminal and Itaqui port are still primarily iron ports, but have increasingly also turned to other cargoes, especially bulk agricultural goods. The smallish container patio is dwarfed by the piles and holding areas of the iron wharves, capable of handling ships up to 500m long and 500,000 metric tons in dead weight.

In recent years, Vale has announced its intention to build huge steelworks next to the terminal; this has been the subject of much criticism for its environmental effects, particularly upon the nearby state capital, São Luís, whose colonial nucleus is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In 2012, the train journey from the ore mine to the port was featured in an episode of Countdown to Collision, broadcast by The Discovery Channel.[3]

As of July 2013, the port is being expanded to handle large volumes of iron ore from the S11D mine near Carajas.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "30 years of Ponta da Madeira maritime terminal". http://www.vale.com. Vale. Retrieved 9 August 2016.  External link in |website= (help)
  2. ^ Port Information booklet - Ponta da Madeira (PDF) (1 ed.). Brazil: Vale. 
  3. ^ Countdown to Collision Episode Guide - http://www.discoverychannelasia.com/tv-shows/countdowntocollision

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 2°33′54″S 44°22′12″W / 2.565°S 44.37°W / -2.565; -44.37