TropicosProjects – Sao Paulo, Brazil

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Mr. Arnaldo Cassettari
General Manager

When did you start up your company Arnaldo? How about your background in shipping, when did you start your career and are you, in fact, a native Brazilian yourself?

I established TropicosProjects in June 2016 after 20 years working in the project cargo forwarding sector. Yes, I am Brazilian with an Italian background.

I have been working with project cargo since 1995. I have seen some very interesting challenges in Brazil and abroad.

What is the main focus of your company?

I am a project cargo consultant and manager. Through TropicosProjects I can assist customers, mostly foreign project freight forwarders, to operate in Brazil from the early phase of pricing construction for tenders up to the management for the execution. Also, I can assist in selecting partners and subcontractors and act as protecting agent for these customers abroad.

Brazil is famous for outdated and clumsy customs rules, elaborate on that if you will. Why is it often a requirement to have the freight mentioned in the bill of lading for shipments to Brazil?

Yes, Brazilian customs and regulations, including taxation over prices and services, are indeed confusing and sometimes frustrating to explain and to include properly in quotations.

But they exist and you can rarely escape them.

If we will elaborate on Brazilian customs rules we will need 2 editions… so better just to resume and say that the most difficult part is not the rules themselves but the several different ways customs officers may interpret the same rule.

I always advise that the physical transportation of heavy items in Brazil is a challenge, but workable, if you choose the correct partners and plan it carefully. What will always be a surprise is customs operations. So the best advice is to start your customs clearance strategy in advance and together with the logistics plan. You cannot compose a logistics strategy without having a clear understanding of the obstacles or alternatives the customs officers may present to you when your shipment meets Brazilian port roads.

Well… the reason for including the freight in the BL is to avoid tax evasion.


Are there different rules in different ports concerning customs clearance? What kind of guidance can you give our readers if/when they would like to ship something to your huge country?

Yes, as I said regulation is federal but the interpretation is not. And if you want to make a customs officer mad… tell him that you “always do it that way in another port…”. So the best thing to do is have a good talk with the customs officers sometime before the project starts. Explain the project, ask for authorizations in advance, be nice, demonstrate that you are asking for their guidance before you make decisions, etc…

Of course, most of the customs officers are technical and some are engineers, so bringing technical information is helpful.


Is corruption a problem in Brazil also a problem in shipping and project freight forwarding?

Yes. Unfortunately, we face this problem also in our industry. We believe this is changing and hopefully will be decreasing during in the coming years.

Oil and gas prices are a bit down and project cargoes are subsequently also a bit down, are you also feeling the effects in Brazil right now?

Totally. Most of the projects related to the oil and gas sector are suspended, some canceled. There is a small reaction and we trust there will be a slight recovering in the next few years. But we need to see what to expect, because most probably the basic rules of the game imposed by Petrobras during last 20 years will change, and we will need to learn how to play in a more globalized way.


As a tourist we all know about the carnival, Rio and so on, however, could you give our readers some tips with regards to beautiful spots in your country that perhaps are less well-known?

Well, I can talk about ports with more proficiency… but as this is a huge country there is an enormous list of places to go. At this very moment, I am writing this looking through the window of the hotel with a nice view of Maceio Port (Alagoas state Northeast of Brazil) where I will coordinate an operation from tomorrow.

We have parts in the Amazon river and jungle with resorts in the middle of trees.

Ariau Towers By Elementwrx

There is place on the border with Paraguay called Pantanal, a natural reserve with impressive views and tours.

Pantanal, Brazil1
Pantanal, Brazil1

The beaches in the northeast, Bahia, and Rio are beautiful and stand out on their own. In the south, we also have amazing beach resorts and a very strong surfing lifestyle.

São Paulo is a cosmopolitan city. You can find anything at any time. Historical cities in Minas Gerais state will show you we have a history of 500 years. Culinary is rich everywhere.

Minas Gerais
Minas Gerais

How do you envisage the future in Brazil for project cargo currently?

Well, our problem is more political than economic. I trust as soon the political scenario improves and stabilizes, which will bring investors, our project scene will improve. There is a lot of infrastructures, energy, transmission projects to be carried on here. We know that there are a lot of companies all over the world with both eyes in Brazil just waiting for some stabilization to step in. with the bankruptcy of most of Brazilian EPC companies, this will be a fertile field for competent foreign companies. We will have new players here. Hopefully with a new mentality. But this will take some time yet.


A competent contact in Brazil is needed by most dealing with your country – what makes you stand out and what kind of experience in handling actual projects do you have in recent years?

I have been working in project cargo management – most of the times in the field – since 1995. That makes over 2 decades of daily work with the local culture, local authorities, local subcontractors, local rules but at the same time, it makes same quantity of years that I have been “translating” this local mentality to foreign companies I have worked for. I can say I do believe I succeeded most of the times.

Just to make it short, since 2010 I have leaded the entire logistical process for the construction of 4 power plant lines (3 year project in Ceará with about 45 ship voyages), 3 oil platforms (with loadout operations with items up to 2000 metric tons here and abroad), critical transportation on Brazilian roads, lifting and positioning of heavy lifts, job site crises solutions and complex customs clearance process.

You can have a look at my website where you will find some more details of these accomplishments.

How to contact you in case a quote is needed from you?

My contacts are below, please contact me at any time:
Arnaldo Cassettariblank
São Paulo – Brazil
Mobile 24/7: +55 11 981949945
Skype: arnaldovcassettari