Marine sector in Brazil

The Marine sector in Brazil is facing a prosperous development, due to new government policies implemented in the country by mid 2000’s.

Market overview

Both leisure marine and shipbuilding sectors in Brazil are facing a considerable yearly growth, and this creates opportunities for UK companies to participate in the Brazilian supply chain.

Brazil is the world’s fifth largest country, covering an area larger than the EU as a whole. With a population of approximately 200 million people and one of the world’s major economies, it is by far the largest and most influential market in South America. During the 1960’s through to the 1980’s, the Brazilian economy was characterised by economic booms and bursts, with rampant inflation and high levels of government intervention. However, since the early 1990’s the Brazilian Government has implemented a number of reforms that have resulted in the stabilisation of inflation and more consistent and sustainable economic growth. Brazil is now widely considered alongside Russia, India and China, as one the 4 major growth markets in the world.

Over the last decade, the marine industry in Brazil went through a renewal process. The government invested in public policies and programmes aimed to transform the shipbuilding sector into one of the most important industries in the Brazilian economy. Major government investments such as PAC (Accelerated Growth Programme), the demand for shuttle tankers and other types of vessels as well as the increase in the annual Merchant Marine Fund (FMM) from £ 84 million in 2001 to £ 1.3 billion in 2012 stimulated this growth.

As a result, employment increased from 1,910 jobs in 2000 to over 62,000 in 2012 and orders totalled 367 vessels in 2012 including, shuttle tankers, bulk carriers, container vessels, offshore support vessels, tug boats and barge convoys. It is a modest participation on a worldwide outlook considering that there are around 4,700 vessels under construction around the world. However, the potential for the construction of new shuttle tankers and offshore support vessels is stimulating the establishment of new shipyards.

Most of Brazilian shipyards are located in the State of Rio de Janeiro, which is also developing a project for the installation of a shipbuilding supply chain in Duque de Caxias, Greater Rio de Janeiro area.

Another shipbuilding cluster in Brazil is located in the northeast of the country in the city of Recife, where there are currently two shipyards in operation – Atlantico Sul and Promar. Both of them are located at the SUAPE port, which is considered the best public port in Brazil. It is expected that SUAPE will have at least four shipyards installed in their facilities within the coming years.

There are also nine new shipyards under construction in Brazil at the moment. They will be located in the states of Pernambuco, Bahia, Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul. The new shipyards will increase the steel processing capacity from the current 560 thousand to 950 thousand/year.

The orders book currently holds 373 vessels under construction. Despite most of these orders must comply with local content requirements, there is a huge potential for UK companies to export goods and services to be applied in their construction.

The leisure marine industry also presents wide opportunities for UK companies to participate in Brazil. This market niche is growing in a path of 10% over the last decade, and estimates foresee continuity in this growth within the next 10 years. Brazilian market major demand falls under motorboats between 16 to 40 ft. in size, though the increase on purchasing power is slightly increasing the number of Brazilians purchasing major yachts and sailing boats.

Key opportunities

  • Shipbuilding – Brazilian shipyards orders book currently has 373 vessels listed;

  • Shipbuilding – The first pre-salt layer round will generate additional investment for the construction of shuttle tankers and OSVs;

  • Shipbuilding – Approximately 30% of the equipment applied in the construction of each vessels is sourced abroad;

  • Leisure marine – Brazilian increasing purchasing power is fostering the growth of leisure marine market; which sources from designs and composites over textiles and furnishing from abroad;

Latest export opportunities in the Marine sector

Latest export opportunities in Brazil

Getting into the market

Brazilian business people are well-informed, on both domestic and international matters. They are very helpful and inviting.

UK businesses interested in this market should consider partnerships with local companies, many of which are seeking foreign expertise and technology, with a view to improving and expanding their activities. Direct investment or acquisitions should also be considered, though the strengthening of the local currency (Real) against the US Dollar has reduced Brazil’s cost advantage. When evaluating this challenging market, it is wise to do so with a medium to long term marketing strategy, and time and effort are needed to succeed. As a general rule, Brazil should not be considered by new exporters, and attention and resources should be directed to more experienced companies looking at new markets.

For this large and very diverse country, it is essential to undertake preliminary market research in order to identify the best market entry option (Joint Venture, Representation, Distribution, etc). It is important to consider local companies that have knowledge of the markets you wish to approach. If you approach Brazil as a whole, do keep your options open when giving exclusivity contracts to companies. Clearly set out the boundaries for distributors when taking a regional approach.

More about doing business in Brazil


Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS).

To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists in country – or contact your local international trade team.

  • Andre Leal, British Consulate-General Tel: +55 21 2555 2656 or email: [email protected]

UKTI Events

UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.

Latest events in Marine Sector

Major Events


Date: 12 -14 August 2014

Navalshore is the major exhibition in the shipbuilding sector in Brazil. The 2013 edition of this exhibition had around 300 companies from all over the world. Exhibitors are mainly shipyards, ship designers, ship owners and the supply chain devoted to this specific area.

São Paulo Boat Show

Date: October 2014

The Sao Paulo Boat Show is an indoor event where over 35,000 visitors can learn about the 270 boats displayed in addition to other new products related to nautical industry presented by over 150 exhibitors. In 2012, sales reached over £ 187 million during the six-day show. The Sao Paulo Boat Show is labelled as the largest indoor boat show in Brazil and also Latin America.

Useful links

More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters

Sectors: Marine
Countries: Brazil
Export Action Plan