Argentina port strikes slow grains shipments

More strikes planned
calendar icon 18 April 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Argentina grains inspectors have launched a 24-hour strike that is halting shipments at key river ports in farm transport hub Rosario, a, citing the ports chamber CAPyM on Monday.

The Urgara grains inspectors' union said they are protesting rules that limit the number of terminals operating at a port in the city of Buenos Aires and high taxes applied to workers' salaries.

The strike "is affecting absolutely all the ports (in Rosario). They are all stopped as a result of the Urgara strike," Guillermo Wade, head of Argentina's Chamber of Port and Maritime Activities (CAPyM), told Reuters, adding that the measure was preventing ships being loaded.

Argentina is the world's top exporter of soybean oil and meal, the third largest in corn, and a key supplier of wheat.

The calls to lower taxes deducted from workers' wages come as the country battles annual inflation over 104%, straining Argentines' wallets.

"The strike will last all day, and more stoppages will take place throughout the week," the Argentine Maritime, Port and Shipbuilding Federation, another union involved in coordinating strike action, said in a statement.

Planned strikes will halt operations at the Buenos Aires and Dock Sud ports and the Zarate-Campana corridor on Wednesday, and shutter the Rio Santiago shipyard on Friday, the group added. It also said other impromptu union actions would occur.

The pause in shipments could hamper the flow of foreign currency into the country, which it needs to rebuild depleted foreign reserves as part of a $44 billion loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

A union source, who requested anonymity, said conflicts will escalate if the government does not respond to union requests on the taxes. Mandatory conciliation is also not an option, the source added, as the labor ministry has exhausted negotiation options.

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