Brazilian ports paralysed by truck strike

A truck drivers’ protest over diesel prices that lasted nearly a week has paralysed most of Brazil’s largest ports.

The Brazilian press reported Monday that “the military said that the entrances to some ports, such as Santos, Latin America’s largest export hub, were cleared, but there were still no trucks arriving by late Sunday to the area to replenish silos and allow for ship-loading operations. Soldiers were reluctant to move against truckers, though they did serve as convoys for some fuel shipments.”

The conflict over operating costs and diesel prices caused Brazil’s largest city and economic hub Sao Paulo to decree a state of emergency, as did Rio de Janeiro. Gas stations and airports across the nation ran out of fuel, supermarket shelves went bare and hospitals said they were running out of supplies. 

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Brazil’s President Michel Temer announced late on Sunday new measures to reduce operating costs for truckers in a bid to end a week-long protest that has severely hampered the flow of food, fuel and key exports in Latin America’s largest economy.

Another decree ordered toll operators across the country not to charge for rear axles that are not in use, as is the case when trucks pass by the tolls unloaded. A third decree mandates the minimum fare for freight to be paid to truckers.

Congress this week was also expected to debate various measures aimed at ending the shutdown.

Posted 30 May 2018

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Michele Labrut

Americas Correspondent, Seatrade Maritime News

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