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Ecuador: Yilport postpones the rise of tariffs for bananas

Rafael Sapiña, the general manager of Yilport, the firm that has managed this port terminal under concession since March this year, stated that they would define the form and date in which the new increases of the freight services provided at Puerto Bolivar (El Oro) would be effective at a new meeting, set for next Monday in Machala. 

According to Sapiña, they are still waiting for the representatives of the Simon Bolivar port authority and the Ministry of transport to approve the new rates that they presented last week to the banana sector and which they had planned to apply last Tuesday. Sapiña stated that they expected the new tariff would be implemented on May 8, the same day that this meeting will take place.

Sapiña said that this increase (from $0.13 to $0.28 per banana case) is based on an economic model that will allow them to meet the costs and investments to be made in this terminal, as well as the payment of fees generated by the concession. "We have to increase the cost of a box of bananas by  $0.10 to pay the port authority,the Senae, and the Under-Secretariat of ports. "That would increase the tariff to $0.23, but it doesn't include the investment, the dredging of the docks, etc."

The postponement of this increase, he said, is due to the search for new alternatives that diminish the impact of the increase of rates, which he considers will be necessary, can have on the sector. "We have always been sensible (with the sector). We don't want to make sudden changes, which is why we propose to gradually make this increase," he said.

Last week Yilport proposed increasing the rates in a gradual manner. This month, the price for each box of bananas would go from $0.13 to $0.24. Prices would then increase until $0.28 in September.

The insistence of Yilport on establishing new costs took the banana sector by surprise. The sector reached an agreement with authorities from the ministries of agriculture and foreign trade and hoped that the increase wouldn't take place. Traders and exporters believe that an increase would raise their operational costs and that it will affect the sector's competitiveness.

Sapiña said he understood the concerns of the industry, but that they couldn't continue to operate the concession at the current prices as they were subsidizing bananas. "We are looking for greater sensitivity to minimize the impact, but we have already been working at a loss for two months. This week we continue to have losses. At least we absorb that $0.10 per box."

This port can dispatch up to 1,500,000 boxes per week.

Source: expreso.ec

Publication date: 5/5/2017


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