April 15, 2022


Argentina's corn and soy exports could be affected by failed trucker strike talks



Argentina's corn and soy exports during the key harvest season could be badly affected after talks between Argentine grain-truck drivers, industry groups and government officials failed to end a strike, Reuters reported.


The grain-truck drivers went on strike to demand higher freight rates to offset rising fuel prices. The strike has brought activity at Argentina's main grains ports to a near halt.


Argentina is the biggest exporter of processed soy oil and soymeal in the world, and the second biggest corn exporter. Production of both grains in the country have been disrupted by drought and frosts.


Export shipments have not been affected by the strike yet, but port sources said the impact will hit in the coming days after grain reserves in the port terminals run out.


Gustavo Idigoras, head of the CIARA-CEC grains processors and exporters chamber, said the strike needs to be lifted quickly or grain exporters will be impacted. 


He said they have 450,000 tonnes that are unable to access ports, 50 ships in line, enormous logistics expenditures, and Easter is approaching, adding that if the strike does not stop by April 18, supplies would be completely halted.


Argentina has been dealing with high inflation for years, but this issue has escalated globally since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. Many commodity costs have risen as a result of the war, notably wheat and petrol prices.


Argentina's Economy Minister predicted that inflation in March will be more than 6%.


Trucks deliver around 85% of Argentina's grain supplies to ports, resulting in congested roadways in farming districts from April forward.


That amount of traffic has nearly vanished. According to AgroEntregas, agricultural logistics business, only 13 trucks reached ports on Wednesday, down from 4,000-6,000 the day before the strike.


Both sides must reach an agreement, according to the Argentine Rural Society (SRA), a major agricultural organisation.


Carlos Odriozola, SRA secretary said an agreement is impossible unless the government guarantees diesel supply at a transparent price.


-      Reuters

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