May 20, 2021
Port workers in Argentina extend strike, disrupting grains exports
Argentina's port workers at have extended their strike over a lack of COVID-19 vaccinations among members, disrupting grains exports in the country, Reuters reported.
The latest strike by the port workers come during the high export season as Argentina's farmers currently harvest soy and corn, the country's main cash crops.
The work stoppage has disrupted activity at the main ports hub at Rosario, where 80% of all shipments of Argentina's agricultural commodities originate. The Rosario exchange projects 2021's soy harvest at 45 million tonnes and the corn harvest at 50 million tonnes.
According to a statement by the workers' union, port workers should be considered essential workers and entitled to vaccinations, adding that four port workers have died of COVID-19 last week. Among the statement signatories were the United Maritime Workers Union and the Fluvial Captains Professional Association.
Among those on strike are dock workers who prepare ships for sail, and tugboat captains and sailors who guide cargo ships to and from port. Dock-side grains inspectors represented by the Urgara union said they were also joining the work stoppage.
Because of the lack of rain in Brazil where the Parana waterway starts, there is lack of river depth at Rosario ports. This means larger ships must load 9,000 tonnes less cargo.
Guillermo Wade, general manager of the CAPyM chamber, said there will be more than 11,000 tonnes per Panamax cargo ship that will not be able to travel by the end of June and July.