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port of Rosario

Grains are loaded in a ship near at a port near the city of Rosario, Argentina September 17, 2021. Picture taken with a drone September 17, 2021. REUTERS/Miguel Lo Bianco/File Photo

Argentine Grain Inspectors Launch 24-Hour Strike, Halting Shipping at Key Ports

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April 17, 2023

By Maximilian Heath

BUENOS AIRES, April 17 (Reuters) – Argentina grains inspectors have launched a 24-hour strike that is halting shipments at key river ports in farm transport hub Rosario, the ports chamber CAPyM said 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.

(Reporting by Maximilian Heath; Additional reporting by Eliana Raszewski; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Aurora Ellis)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023.

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