Crisis deepens at Valparaíso

The president of Empresa Portuaria Valparaíso (EPV), Raul Celis, has resigned, citing "diagnostic differences" with Chile's Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications regarding the ongoing strike at the port.

He stressed that what is taking place at Valparaíso is not a strike, but rather a blockade, since both Terminals 1 and 2 are effectively working normally, but “irreconcilable differences” between EPV and the government led to the latter demanding his resignation.

Container operator Terminal Pacífico Sur Valparaíso (TPS) said it is now operating normally, while labelling the blockade of the terminal’s gates as “illegal”. Around 100 workers are now providing handling services at the company’s facilities.

Because of the strike by casual workers, which has been ongoing since November 16, EPV said it is to revise TPS’ concession contract for the second time in less than two years. The initial revision took place last year, when the operator raised cruise ship rates to the maximum, which resulted in its major client transferring business to San Antonio. However, the most current revision could, potentially, result in TPS having its concession contract rescinded because of its alleged inability to provide a continuity of service as a result of the strike. Such a move is unprecedented in Chile.

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