NATIONAL STRIKE IN COLOMBIA AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR THE SHIPPING INDUSTRY
Published: 7 May 2021
Local correspondents have advised of a national strike in Colombia. Following the Government’s filing of the tax reform proposal in the Congress on April 15th, different sectors including trade unions, transport workers, and students called for a national strike (“Paro Nacional“) and several protests began on April 28th.
Despite the resignation of the Minister of Finance and the withdrawal of the tax reform proposal, demonstrations and road blockades in several cities have continued to protest against the abuses of the Police. So far, the national strike has left more than 30 deaths, 800 people injured and, according to the Ombudsman’s Office, 89 people missing.
Concerning the shipping industry, on the Atlantic coast, port operations have not yet been affected. However, road blockades and mobility restrictions have made access to the terminals difficult for Surveyors, especially in Barranquilla. On the Pacific coast, particularly in the port of Buenaventura, the issue is more complex. Since the beginning of the strike, there have been several blockades on the road leading to Buenaventura that have totally restricted access to this city. Thus, lack of transportation has delayed some unloading operations, especially of bulk carriers, as terminals are reaching the top of their storage capacity. Additionally, some provisions, food products, and gas are already in short supply at this port.
Should the national strike continue, it is very likely that unloading operations around the country will come to an almost complete halt due to road blockades and the participation of transporters in the strike. It is also possible that various supplies, food products, and basic provisions will become limited and cannot be provided to vessels’ crews.
Members are advised to contact local agents and correspondents for further information.