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Road warrior navigates extreme conditions in Brazil

Francisco Moraes, CHS Employee

You’ll never complain about potholes or bumpy, narrow highways again after considering the difficult and often dangerous stretches of roads in Brazil’s Mapito region. Francisco Moraes, commercial manager, CHS Global Grain Marketing South America, travels those country roads to visit customers. He describes his job as, “the great challenge of solving the complex problems in marketing grain.” One look at what passes for roads in rural Brazil will tell you otherwise and make you add “road warrior” to his title.

Road conditions
Road conditions
Road conditions
Road conditions

“The roads we drive can be considered good to very poor. Some of them can’t be considered roads by normal standards, due to their precarious condition,” says Moraes. “In the rainy season, they become very muddy and cars stall, which increases risk of collisions and rollovers.”

Moraes buys grain from growers in six regions and often visits customers’ farms to build relationships. During the busy season, it’s not uncommon for him to drive an average of 12 hours a day, covering 600 km (373 miles). In one week, he averages 3,000 km (1,864) miles behind the wheel.

Moraes plays it safe by applying lessons learned from the seven defensive driver’s training courses he’s taken over the years, through CHS and Bunge, his previous employer. High on his list of safe driving tips is watching out for the other guy.

“I pay a lot of attention to drivers who appear to be in hurry; how they drive at high speed, brake too fast and change lanes without signaling,” he says. “While they seem to have a high degree of confidence, they are also increasing the risk of accidents.”

What aggravates him the most? Horns. “I’m very patient, but what irritates me when I’m driving inside the city is how drivers lay on their horns.” You might say he prefers to take the high road.

Editor’s note: They call these roads?? See more dramatic photos.