Haulier strike all but paralyses Santos trade

Industry Database

A strike by truck drivers in Brazil, which has lasted for more than a week, has badly affected exports from the Port of Santos, which claims it has caused losses of $100m to the shipping sector. The claim was made by the Organisation of Maritime Shipping Agencies of the State of São Paulo (Sindamar).

One bulk carrier had reportedly been waiting for five days prior to the arrival of its export shipment, while other vessels had been forced to remain at anchor to wait for cargo.

The container terminals at the port have been similarly impacted. They are now prioritising import containers, given a lack of outbound box traffic brought about by the strike.

The owner-drivers began their strike on May 21 and show no signs of returning to work, despite intervention by the national government; instead, they have formed a picket line on roads leading to the terminals, effectively blocking the arrival of containers to the port. All the time, storage capacity within the container terminals is shrinking, as import containers are no longer being removed from terminal premises.

Sindamar says that only 20% of export cargo is being loaded. However, this is either transhipment traffic, or containers already on site before the strike began. It reports that one vessel sailed from Santos 80% empty. Furthermore, many coastal shipping companies have had no cargo to transport for over a week.

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