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A Strike Set To Block Major Ports In Argentina

Corn and soybean exports threatened

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- A surprising strike is expected to shake the corn and soybean market, for the next days. The Argentine Confederation of Automotive Transportation of Cargo has promised to block major ports like Buenos Aires and Santa Fe. If it is not successful, it promises to block major grain export ports in the country like the ports of Rosario, Bahia Blanca and Necochea.

Already, protests are occurring at export ports. On Thursday, the striking group announced it will begin blocking major grain ports on Tuesday morning.

The truck owners union says that "there is a huge necessity to increase freight tariffs,” but there is big “resistance of large farm enterprises". The president of the Argentine Confederation of Automotive Transportation of Cargo, Ramón Jatip, told the local website ViaRosario.com that "meetings were held to avoid the conflict, but were unsuccessful". The reason for the strike is that the price of gasoline has jumped 31%, so far this year, and road tolls rose 400%, while there was no significant adjustment of the freight prices.

At this time, the soybean harvest in Argentina is pretty close to the end. But the sales that are higher than expected already generated some delays of shipping of wheat vessels from four to 12 days in the ports of Santa Fe, Rosario, Bahia Blanca, and Necochea.

For Guillermo Rossi, Director of Information and Economic Studies at the Rosario Board of Trade, the main impact of the strike could potentially affect more corn than soybean oil and soymeal exports. The corn harvest has now reached 55% to 60% of the total surface with sales of the current crop of 24 million metric tons. Of those, 13 million metric tons were exported and another four million metric tons to be exported. About six million metric tons have yet to be sold.

"Depending on how the corn harvest advances, we could have a lot of complications in some ports. We have to see the real scope of the [strike] measures," summarized Rossi.

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