Banana workers, stevedores, and their families have protested against the Turkish multinational Yilport in the Madero Vargas Avenue. The protest was against the increase in the port fees. They will go from $ 0.17 - $ 0.15 paid by the exporter and $ 0.02 by the Government - to $0.24 in 2018 and $0.28 in 2019.
The company has the concession of Puerto Bolivar. The protesters expressed their opposition to 27 fees. Some items have had a one hundred percent increase in fees and other fees were created by the new administration.
One of the protesters' complaints is that the Turkish company is the most expensive port services provider in the country.
The president of the Association of Banana Exporters of Ecuador (AEBE), Eduardo Ledesma, said that if the excessive charges continue, the banana farmers of el Oro had two options: disappear or ship their products from Guayaquil, where they would be charged $0.13 for the same work that is done in Puerto Bolivar. In either case the results for El Oro will be negative. The sector is one of the main generators of work.
"We are not against private investment, but it can't become a monopoly," said Raul Lara, the president of the Banana Chamber of El Oro.
Yilport has had the port concession on a 50 year lease, since August 2016.
Prior to the march, the Minister of Transport and Public Works, Paul Granda, said the government would set up a commission to review the concession. Puerto Bolivar exports 30% of the country's banana production.
El Oro concentrates 50% of the small banana producers in Ecuador.