The Port of Itajai (Portuguese) plays an important role in the globalization of the economy, and it attracts companies and goods from the international market. Containing over 15 thousand square meters for storage of general cargo and 38 thousand square meters for containerized cargo, the Port of Itajai is equipped with the latest cargo-handling and security technologies. It was the first port in Latin America to establish an Internet presence.
The Port of Itajai was traditionally devoted to general cargoes, with 732 thousand tons of cargo passing through the port in 1990. In 2004, over 5.7 million tons of cargo moved through the port. Almost 80% of the cargo was exports, reflecting the agricultural productivity of the region. Exports went to Europe, North America, and the Middle and Far East. Today, the main exported goods include wood, frozen meat and chickens, ceramics, wrapping paper, machines and accessories, tobacco, vehicles, textiles, and sugar.
The Port of Itajai has become the third largest container port in Brazil, growing from 26 thousand TEUs in 1990 to over 564 thousand TEUs in 2004. Over 90% of the cargo passing through the port was in containers that year. The Tourist Pier was opened in 2001, and the Container Terminal was opened in 2002. Current expansion efforts were planned to be completed by 2008.
The Port of Itajai is one of Brazil’s busiest. Its operations are a model for other Brazilian ports, particularly in the handling of containerized and frozen/chilled cargoes. It has more container refers than any other Latin American Port.
The Port of Itajai has one of the most modern tourist facilities in the state of Santa Catarina. In the 2008 season, it welcomed 24 ships carrying over 35 thousand visitors.