December 4, 2013
Paulo Winterstein – Wall Street Journal, 12/03/2013
Despite refurbishing and construction delays, including three fatal accidents, the 12 stadiums Brazil intends to employ as venues for the 2014 soccer World Cup will be ready in time for the June 12 kickoff, officials of the sport’s global governing body said Tuesday.
“We are not in crisis mode,” said Jerome Valcke, secretary-general of the Federation Internationale de Football Association, or FIFA, at a news conference in the northeastern Brazilian resort of Costa do Sauipe, where FIFA will hold a drawing on Friday for league play in the eight World Cup groups.
Brazil’s government has pledged to deliver all 12 stadiums, some renovated and some brand new, by December 31. So far, only six are ready.
December 3, 2013
Thalita Carrico – Financial Times, 12/02/2013
Brazil’s imminent hosting of the Fifa World Cup next year and the Olympic Games in 2016 has shone a spotlight on the country’s often woefully inadequate infrastructure. But it has also prompted some hasty work to encourage private-sector investment. In civil aviation, as well as in other areas, this is gathering pace – which can only be good for the country’s aviation sector.
This month, Singapore’s Changi Airport Group and Odebrecht, a Brazilian construction and infrastructure group, agreed to pay $8.3bn to run Rio de Janeiro’s international airport, with a promise to build 26 new gates and expand its cargo storage capacity over the next 25 years.
A separate concession to run Belo Horizonte’s Cofins airport was won by Zurich and Munich’s airport operators along with Brazil’s CCR group, a highway operator. They plan to add a new terminal and landing strip at Cofins.
December 2, 2013
Rob Walker – The Guardian, 12/02/2013
It’s easy to get a sense of how the locals in Natal – one of the venues for next year’s football World Cup – feel about the tournament. “What’s the new stadium like?” I ask a customs officer, in the arrivals hall of the city’s airport. “It must be almost built by now.”
The officer stamps my passport and looks up. “A spacecraft,” she says, deadpan. “It’s like a spacecraft has crash-landed in the middle of our town.”
Few have heard of Natal, in Brazil’s far north-east tip. Think Rio de Janeiro without the bikinis and beach joggers. But if it is unknown now, it won’t be by June 2014: Natal is one of 12 host cities for next summer’s tournament. Rumour has it that England could be playing here in the group stages.
The Arena das Dunas – named after the sand dunes on the nearby coast – looms into view on the drive from the airport.
December 2, 2013
Shobhan Saxena – The Hindu, 12/02/2013
Just hours before Sao Paulo lost the race for Expo2020 to Dubai, a huge crane crashed at the Itaquerao stadium that will host the opening match, a semi-final and four other games of next year’s FIFA World Cup. As the crane sliced through a canopy, damaged seats and crushed two workers to death on Wednesday, fresh questions were raised about Brazil’s preparedness for the biggest sporting show on the planet.
The accident came amid a scramble to meet the December 31 deadline set by FIFA to deliver all the 12 stadiums where the games would be played.
It was a bad day for the city as its dream of hosting the Expo2020 was shattered just as the mishap at the stadium, which has missed several deadlines, pushed its completion to February 2014. The Itaquerao, 94 per cent finished, was to be handed over to FIFA for inspection soon. But now, the arena has joined six other stadiums which have been struggling to meet the FIFA deadline.
November 22, 2013
Dan Horch – The New York Times, 11/22/2013
Brazil’s government privatized two major airports, raising a total of 20.8 billion reais, or $9.1 billion, on Friday, as the country makes infrastructure upgrades ahead of next year’s World Cup.
A consortium led by the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht and the Singapore airport operator Changi paid 19 billion reais, or $8.3 billion, for the rights to operate Rio de Janeiro’s Galeão airport for 25 years.
A consortium led by the Brazilian highways operator CCR and the Swiss Flughafen Zurich paid 1.82 billion reais, or $795 million, for a 30-year contract to operate a smaller airport, Confins, in the midwestern state of Minas Gerais.
November 22, 2013
Gabriel Elizondo – Al Jazeera, 11/21/2013
“There is no way this will be ready.” That was the thought that went through my mind back in May 2011, while I was standing on an empty dirty lot in the outskirts of Sao Paulo, gazing at a giant dirt hole as two small tractors sat idle. Not one construction worker was within sight.
The location was the future site of the new football stadium that will open the 2014 World Cup.
Back then, Sao Paulo was under intense pressure. The construction of the new stadium here was highly political and hampered by delays. There was even talk of moving the World Cup opening match to Brasilia.
But Sao Paulo is the economic hub of Brazil, the city where things get done in this country.
Fast forward to this past Wednesday.
November 22, 2013
Paulo Winterstein – Wall Street Journal, 11/21/2013
Brazil plans to hand over two of the country’s biggest airports to private operators Friday in a crucial test of President Dilma Rousseff’s efforts to attract tens of billions of dollars of investment and restore confidence amid sluggish economic growth.
Bottlenecks affecting the country’s roads, railways and ports are widely blamed for choking off faster economic growth. The government drew up a plan to spend about $230 billion over the next few years, and it toured European, Asian and U.S. capitals to try to attract financing. It has bet heavily that the concessions program will counter accusations that it has taken a heavy-handed approach to the private sector.
The Galeão international airport in Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte’s Confins airport are important pieces of the government’s plan. Both are already stretched in terms of capacity, and traffic is expected to triple over the concessions’ lifetime. which is 25 years in the case of Galeão and 30 years in the case of Confins. The airport in Rio will be a major gateway for the hundreds of thousands of tourists who are expected to flood Brazil when it hosts the soccer World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics in 2016.
November 6, 2013
Legendary Brazil striker Ronaldo says next year’s World Cup will be a “beginning for change” in his country.
Soccerex cancelled its football conference due to be held in Rio next month, blaming “ongoing civil unrest”, although the State of Rio and World Cup organisers dispute that reason.
But Ronaldo said: “The latest polls show that 90% of Brazilians are in favour of the World Cup.
“We need to use this World Cup to call for more investments.”
November 4, 2013
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who is expected to seek re-election in 2014, urged Cabinet ministers on Saturday to speed up major infrastructure and public services projects, amid concerns about delays with much-needed road, hospital and port improvements.
Rousseff met in Brasilia with 15 Cabinet ministers, all of them presiding over ministries related to infrastructure and social policy matters. She asked the ministers to agree on a common timetable for completing the projects, the president’s chief of staff, Gleisi Hoffmann, told a news conference.
“All agendas will be organized in a way that they give priority to deliveries of the projects,” Hoffmann said in remarks broadcast by state news channel NBR. Some projects include medical centers in depressed urban areas, housing under the “Minha Casa, Minha Vida” home subsidy program and rural projects.
October 31, 2013
Merco Press, 10/31/2013
Waiting times for vessels may give U.S. soybean exporters a longer selling window and potentially lift US export volumes, Michael Cordonnier, president and owner of the Hinsdale, Illinois-based firm, wrote in an online report on Wednesday.
Brazil is forecast to harvest a record 88 million metric tons of soybeans in 2013-14, the US Department of Agriculture estimates. A fire at the port of Santos on Oct. 18 that destroyed sugar warehouses may mean some grain facilities will be used for exports of the sweetener, Cordonnier wrote.
“A good analogy for the infrastructure problems in Brazil is an hour glass,” Cordonnier said. “In 2014, the top of the hour glass is going to get bigger with a record large soybeans crop and the restricted part of the hour glass, which are the ports in Brazil, is going to get a little smaller in 2014 due to the fire at Santos.”