The Brazilian Congress is in the process of  analyzing, as a matter of urgency, the Provisional Presidential Decree (MP) #595, of December 6th, 2012,  which creates a new regulatory landmark for the Brazilian port system, setting forth provisions on the direct and indirect exploitation, by the Federal Government, of the ports and ports facilities, and revoking the Law # 8.630 of February 25th, 1993. (Ports Law).

The new regulatory landmark introduces significant changes in relation to the prior rules, and this is why several controversies have arisen with regard to  its approval.

The deadline for amendments ended on 13/12/2012, having been introduced 645 amendments.

The Joint Commission that analyses this provisional presidential decree (MP) is comprised by 14 house of representatives members and 14 senators.

The Commission scheduled several public hearings in order to hear several representatives who operate or make use of the port system. Three weeks for these hearings have been scheduled. The first segment invited to participate will be the port workers´ representatives segment represented by unions and federations. Afterwards, the representatives of companies that operate in this segment and port users will be heard. In the third block of hearings the experts will be heard,  and finally,  the Federal Government ´s representatives.

The work plan of the commission expects these hearings to occur no later than 20/03/2013.

It can be found on the media the questions from all these segments, some who stand for and those who are against the landmark ´s provisions. 

The working class is mainly concerned with the aspects of the measure that weaken the existing public ports, fearing that the expansion of private terminals generates unemployment in the sector.

Whereas the representatives of the ports users sector defend the measure inasmuch as it increases the offer of port services, thereby reducing logistical costs of importation and exportation of products.

Companies that operate in the sector are divided, with those with favor the measure and those who are against the measure. Those who are in favor seek to expand their investments in the sector, whereas the companies that operate the current public terminals understand that the new landmark creates undue competition.

Even the domestic shipping companies that operate in coastal navigation are attentive to the discussions regarding the provisional presidential decree, since one of the amendments proposes that it be authorized the operation of ships not flying the  Brazilian flag  in the transport of domestic coastal navigation, at distances superior to 300 kilometers. 

The challenge of the Brazilian Congress will be to pacify and harmonize all conflicting interests.

The rapporteur of the measure will present his opinion on 03/04/2013.