(Updates with ports in first and second paragraphs.)
Oct. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Argentine truck owners who transport soybeans and corn are blocking activity at four ports to demand a 43 percent increase in fees in the country’s largest province.
The ports of Bahia Blanca, Quequen, Ramallo and San Nicolas, which account for less than 20 percent of Argentina’s grain exports, are “practically on stand-still,” Ovidio Rodriguez, president of the Argentine Transporters Federation, said in a telephone interview today.
The federation, which represents about 67,000 trucks, also plans to stop working on Oct. 27 to demand that the province of Buenos Aires increases the minimum fee truck owners receive to about 100 pesos ($23.61) per 200 kilometers (124 miles), from 70 pesos, Rodriguez said. The port strike may also extend to Rosario, which accounts for about 80 percent of all shipments, on Oct. 31.
“We didn’t want to strike again before the elections to avoid mixing the protest with politics,” Rodriguez said. The federation also wants Buenos Aires province to ensure that 50 percent of total cargo be transported by truck during the low season, he said.
President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was re-elected for a second four-year term with 54 percent of the votes on Oct. 23.
Argentina is the world’s second-largest corn exporter and the third-largest soybean shipper. Transportation of cereals and oilseeds were affected in August by a two-day strike by the federation, which consists of owners of one to five trucks, Rodriguez said.
--Editors: Jasmina Kelemen, Charles Siler
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