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Ecuador: Banana farmers hope to resolve tariffs issue
The State will subsidise by 2 cents the tariffs increase in force since May 8, for the services provided by the Puerto Bolivar Port Authority towards banana exports; provided the exporter pays 15 cents per box in bulk during the period from May-December 2017, and the Turkish concessionaire, YilportEcu, will reduce its tariff to 17 cents, as was reported to this newspaper.
The proposal was presented by the Minister of Transport and Public Works, Paul Granda, during the meeting held in Quito on August 17 with Eduardo Ledesma of the Association of Ecuadorian Banana Exporters (Aebe), and Richard Salazar of the Banana Marketing and Exporting Association (Acorbanec) as well as Carlos Cruz, general manager of YilportEcu and Christian Blauert. Also participating was Fernando Rodas, Undersecretary of Maritime and River Transport.
The subject is still waiting for answers that needed to be defined once president Lenin Moreno, who (during the Extended Travelling Cabinet held in Santa Rosa last Friday 18) did not make any reference to the controversial point of the tariff increase applied by the concessionary firm of Puerto Bolívar, has been informed.
Jorge Alex Serrano, chairman of Aebe's board said yesterday that at the working meeting with the Minister, who did not attend but was kept informed, where both the official and the exporter sectors once again presented their points of view regarding the problems generated from the rate increase.
He said that there were three proposals. The first one presented by Aebe which raises the 0.1450 per box shipped in bulk for the period from May to December 2017; 0.1550 per box shipped in bulk by 2018; and 0.1650 per box shipped in bulk by 2019.
The counterproposal presented by representatives of YilportEcu raised it to 0.18 cents per box shipped in bulk for 2017; 0.24 for 2018 and 0.28 for 2019.
While the statement by the Minister of Transport and Public Works came in last, in the sense that the exporter pays a value of 15 cents per box in bulk in the period May-December 2017, and Yilport will reduce its tariff to 17 cents per box while the two cent difference would be assumed by the Ecuadorian State.
The director said that the Deputy Secretary Fernando Rodas reported on the talks held with the export sector in order to reach an agreement on the tariff level that Yilport will charge as a concessionaire for its services.
Meanwhile, Eduardo Ledesma said that in his capacity as Executive Director of Aebe he informed Minister Granda that in the study conducted by the former Minister of Finance, Fausto Ortíz, where the economic impact that would have the rates proposed and approved by Port Authority of Puerto Bolivar on May 7 last was determined.
The approach referred to the competitiveness aspect of Ecuadorian bananas in the international market vis-à-vis close competitors such as Colombia and Central America, and where Yilport's proposal made in August of this year would be at a rate of 27.95 US cents per box.
Likewise the executive director of Acorbanec explained the effects of the banana exporting companies that ship the fruit in Puerto Bolívar to the minister, and did not agree with the proposed levels. He also added that together with a group of representatives from the banana producing sector they had requested the declaration of an emergency for the sector, in a letter to the Minister of Agriculture.
The minister also proposed the creation of a Technical Commission that, within 60 days, will analyze the optional values, port services, tariff values for the next 5 years along with other aspects. The Commission composed of Mtop, Yilport, Aebe and Acorbanec is to meet in Guayaquil, an issue that, according to the leadership, has not materialized.
Publication date: 8/25/2017
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