Truck shipping

Argentina truckers’ strike ends, boosting grain exports

A strike by Argentinian truckers ended on Thursday, after some unions unhappy with diesel shortages reached an agreement to end the week-long protest around the main port of Rosario, which is expected to boost the flow of grain for export .

Protest by truckers over high fuel prices crippled exports of corn and other grains just as most of the harvest was heading to ports for shipment to overseas markets.

Some protests may continue, however, as some small groups of truckers were not involved in the deal.

Argentina is the second largest corn exporter in the world, the leading exporter of oil and processed soybean meal, as well as a major supplier of wheat and beef.

“Although we do not agree (with a recent negotiation of truck freight rates) and given the crisis that our country is going through, we decide to end the strike,” said one of the unions, Autoconvocados Unidos, in a press release.

The union called its decision an act of goodwill.

The volume of trucks entering ports had already resumed on Thursday, up some 70% from the day before to more than 1,500 vehicles, according to data from the Rosario grain exchange.

The ports of Rosario are the departure point for 80% of Argentine agricultural exports, most of which arrive by truck.

“It’s getting back to normal,” said Guillermo Wade, director of the country’s chamber of seaports, referring to the ability of trucks to access the port.

Also on Wednesday, the Department of Transport agreed with some agricultural and transport groups that were not involved in the strike to raise grain freight rates by 25%.

But most of the protesting unions, including truckers’ union UNTRA, described the rate increase as insufficient, although most opted for the removal of roadblocks.

“We have a lot more expenses than that,” UNTRA chief Carlos Geneiro said.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Maximilian Heath; Additional reporting by Nicolas Misculin; Editing by Adam Jourdan, Nick Zieminski and Aurora Ellis)