Colombian Truckers To Begin Striking AT Midnight Today
Coffee Network (Bogota) – Truckers in Colombia will begin to strike on midnight Friday, halting shipments of coffee to main ports as truckers demanding more firm actions from incumbent president Iván Duque.
Ricarco Virviescas, director of the Colombian truckers’ association, told Coffee Network that small, medium-sized and large trucks will halt activities tonight as they have requested President Duque to stop an agreement with the US that aims to bring in US trucks that do not comply with environmental regulation.
Truckers have also said that the inclusion of Colombia to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OCDE) is affecting truckers because OCDE demands from Colombia to lift regulation that forces to destroy an old lorry when a new one enters into the market.
Virviescas said the elimination of such regulation will create a greater supply of trucks in a market that is already saturated.
In the province of Valle del Cauca, home to Buenaventura- where 60% of coffee gets exported, truckers already began the stoppage early today.
The country’s coffee growers’ federation Fedecafe (FNC) has said 60% of the coffee shipments get exported though Pacific ports.
Luis Carlos Burbano, director of a coffee cooperative in the southern province of Nariño, known as Asprounion, says he must dispatch 155 bags of 70kg to Buenaventura on Monday afternoon to fulfill with a delivery to Netherlands.
“This is an inconvenient because it delays everything,” he said.
As much as 80% of truckers equivalent to 296,000 trucks are likely to begin striking today, Virviescas noted. The balance may be willing to work but they probably decide not to work on fears that striking truckers burn their cars, Burbano said.
Last year, truckers strike for 21 days, resulting in 300 billion Colombian pesos (US $120 million) in losses.
The city of Buenaventura is comprised by several ports including Sociedad Portuaria de Buenaventura, the largest terminal in the city. It also includes the Grupo Portuario and Aguadulce, a recently inaugurated port.
Writing by Diana Delgado
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