It’s Carnival in Brazil, what changes for Foreign Trade

It’s Carnival in Brazil, what changes for Foreign Trade?

The Origins of Carnival

Carnival is one of the oldest festivals in history and has its roots in pagan celebrations dating back to the 3rd century B.C. in Ancient Greece. At the time, the feast of Dionysus (or Bacchus, as the Greeks called him), the god of agriculture and wine, was held with music, dancing, and the exhibition of masks to mark the end of winter and the arrival of spring.

With the expansion of the Roman Empire, the tradition was incorporated into the culture of the people they conquered and, over time, evolved into what we now know as Carnival.

Carnival in Brazil

When the Portuguese arrived in Brazil, in 1500, they brought their Carnival traditions with them, which, over the centuries, were adapted and ended up incorporating rich indigenous and African influences.

The first record of a Carnival held in Brazil occurred in 1641, in Rio de Janeiro. The party has been an integral part of Brazilian culture, since. Over the centuries, Carnival gained ever-increasing proportions and became a true expression of Brazilian creativity and joy.

Today, Carnival is one of the most anticipated parties of the year in Brazil and attracts millions of tourists from all over the world to the streets of the main local cities, such as Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Recife.

How does Carnival impact Brazilian foreign trade?

Have you wondered why Carnival is important for Brazilian foreign trade? We will explore Carnival’s impact on foreign trade businesses through this article, examining which activities are affected during this festive period. It is common for people to associate Carnival with days of revelry; the truth is that the its consequences go beyond the streets and affect the country’s economy.

First, it is important to note that Carnival is not officially a long holiday, although many companies and public agencies close their doors during this time; thus, the impact of Carnival on foreign trade varies according to the type of commercial activity involved. 

With regard to ports, most continue to operate as usual during Carnival, although some ports may operate with reduced staff, which might lead to minor delays around some of the operations. This can particularly happen in ports located in cities with a strong Carnival culture.

In the case of airports, commercial flights should not be affected, nor should cargo flights be, since they continue to operate normally. It is important to note, however, that there might be a reduction in the number of flights during this specific time of the year, with the delays in some deliveries as a consequence.

Factories and foreign trade companies can also be affected by Carnival. Some companies may close their doors during the days of revelry, while others may operate with a reduced team, causing delays in production and in the delivering process.

In summary, although Carnival is not officially a long holiday in Brazil, it still has a significant impact on the country’s foreign trade. While many commercial activities will continue to operate normally during the Carnival period, it will be important to be aware of the possible delays and interruptions typical of this festive season.

Which ports will close during Carnival?

It is common for most Brazilian ports to maintain their normal operating activities during the Carnival period, due to the importance of foreign trade for the nation, which cannot be interrupted because of a long holiday. 

However, in some locations with a strong Carnival tradition, there may be a lack of employees working in the ports with its consequential delays in their operations, especially if the loading and unloading demands are extremely high at that moment. Such reduction in the number of employees can be justified by the fact that many people take advantage of the long holiday to travel and have fun, or, on the other hand, it could be that port workers participate in parades and Carnival blocks. However, please note that the port’s essential services, such as customer service, remain on duty during Carnival to ensure the continuity of activities.

Therefore, it is always good for companies that use port services to be aware of possible delays and unforeseen events during Carnival and carry out prior planning to minimize those impacts. In addition, if its urgent, you can always contact the Port Guard for information and support. It is worth remembering that, despite the possibility of delays in some locations, most Brazilian ports work normally during the Carnival period, maintaining their regular operational activities and contributing to the development of the country’s foreign trade. Anyway, it is recommended that foreign trade companies and professionals themselves contact ports and service providers to obtain updated information on operating conditions during the period. This can help them to avoid potential delays or disruptions to business operations.

We’ll now offer you some useful information about the largest port in Brazil, the port of Santos, but remember to check the operating conditions of the port of your interest, as there might be differences in relation to their working team and opening hours.

The Port Authority of Santos (SPA) informed – in a statement directed to users – that, due to the Carnival holiday, the Company’s administrative services will be suspended from February 20 to 22, corresponding to Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. However, essential user support services will operate on an on-call basis. So, it will be possible to guarantee the continuity of port operations, even during the extended holiday period. That means that the Port of Santos will function normally.

For emergencies, the Port Authority has provided a telephone number: (+55 13) 3202-6570.

Therefore, it is fundamental that companies and foreign trade professionals are aware of it, once more, to avoid possible delays or interruptions in commercial operations during the period of Carnival.

How about the airports? What about the IRS?

To meet demands during Carnival, the Customs Office of Guarulhos, located at the GRU Airport Cargo, will operate on duty, due to the optional point throughout federal public offices. Therefore, working hours and services will follow the same as on regular weekends, including customs transit and the release of green channel import declarations. Customs will return to normal operations on Wednesday, February 22, at 2 pm.

At the airport of Campinas, the Viracopos Customs will have specific parameterization schedules for Customs Transit Declarations (DTAs) as well as for Import Declarations (DIs). DTAs will be analyzed and received only on Saturday, on February 18.

The resumption of analysis and reception of DTAs activities will take place on Ash Wednesday, on February 22, at 2:00 p.m. Conversely, DIs will have manual analyses and releases on Saturday and Sunday, (February 18 and 19), until 9 p.m. DIs manual resumptions of analyses and releases will be on Ash Wednesday, on February 22, 2023, starting at 2 p.m.


If they’re willing to avoid any delays and operation disruptions, it is essential that foreign trade companies and professionals plan accordingly so they can be able to deal without major difficulties with the large volume of processes during the post-holiday period. This is why it seems important to be aware of the provided information and take the necessary measures to minimize any possible impacts.