By Lucas Seabra

After years of stagnation during the 80s and 90s, the Brazilian shipbuilding had a strong resumption of investment, in the past 10 years and Brazil appears again in the international industry statistics with the fourth largest fleet in the world and third position in production figures.

The sector which employed 3,000 workers in 2003, now employs more than 62,000 workers and intends to employ 100,000 by 2017.

The Brazilian government has shown great effort on the development of the sector with the support of the National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES), the Marine Merchant Fund ("FMM") and the Shipbuilding Guarantee Fund ("FGCN").

The FMM is a major instrument on the promotion of the maritime industry and has gained strength since 2003, ensuring the revitalization of the sector, with disbursements of R$ 1.5 billion per year.

The Brazilian shipyards have in their orderbook 367 works of offshore shipbuilding and nine new shipyards are being implemented in the States of Pernambuco, Bahia, Espirito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande do Sul.

Although the Brazilian fleet so far counts with approximately 400 ships, the National Agency for Waterway Transportation (ANTAQ) estimates a demand of 1,000 ships in the coming years, mainly to serve the offshore exploration of oil and gas.