Argentina’s Atlantic ports paralysed as lorry drivers strike deepens

The indefinite strike action by independent truckers has paralysed activity at the ports of Bahia Blanca and Necochea, cutting off...

The indefinite strike action called by independent truckers earlier this week has paralysed activity at the ports of Bahia Blanca and Necochea, cutting off supply completely to two key ports on Argentina’s Atlantic coast, data from a leading logistics firm shows.

The ports are major infrastructure for the country’s bulk agriculture exports, while strike action is also said to be affecting grain loadings at several ports located in the Up River hub at Rosario.

Logistics firm Williams Entregas reported that no grain lorries had arrived into Bahia Blanca or Necochea on either Thursday or Friday, while just 544 lorries had arrived to the Rosario region on Thursday, rising to 1,143 lorries on Friday.

The firm reported that 1,322 lorries loaded with grain had arrived to grain ports across the country on Friday in total, down compared with a total of 6,442 lorries a week earlier on January 15.

In between, members of the Transportistas Unidos de la Argentina (TUDA) group representing independent truck drivers had launched the indefinite strike, bringing fresh disruption to logistics operations that have faced a series of industrial actions over the last month.

Bahia Blanca, by comparison, reported 1,310 grain lorries arriving to the port on January 15, with 682 lorries reaching the Necochea terminal last week.

The protest is being carried out by members of the TUDA union, which comprises around 2,000 independent truck owners and drivers.

Grain exports had been disrupted by a prolonged strike action carried out by the country’s two oilseed crushing unions, grain receivers and maritime workers demanding higher salaries.

TUDA members are demanding higher freight tariffs, as well as infrastructure improvements at national roads and increased security for drivers, with truckers partially blocking the Buenos Aires-Rosario highway along with other strategic routes.

The government of Santa Fe province announced that are prepared to use the police to evict road blockades, while the country’s main grain and trade chambers also issued a joint statement to demand the intervention of the national government in the conflict.

A source at exporters chamber Ciara-CEC confirmed that the activity at local grain ports has been severely impacted by the strike action and said that the intervention of the national government was urgently needed.

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