BY THIERRY OGIER
SAO PAULO — Thierry Montagne arrived in Santos 12 years ago as a mechanic to work on the maintenance of imported machinery in South America’s largest — and then decadent — port. He has since been busy selling reach stackers for the U.S. crane manufacturer Terex and he now runs his own company. Business has been brisk: he has sold 225 machines all over Brazil, including more than half in the port of Santos.
From his small office just two blocks away from the pier, the French native has witnessed the modernization process that followed the privatization of several terminals a decade ago. “Private investment has led to expansion and modernization of port operations,” Montagne says.
All in all, Santos boosted its containerized cargo by 25.9 percent to 2.9 million TEUs last year. That resulted in Santos keeping its rank as the top Latin American port for the second year in a row, according to the 2007 ranking of Latin America's Top 25 Ports from Latin Business Chronicle. The ranking has been expanded from last year's Top 15 ports.
Colon, located at the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal, came in...