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Costa Rica: Transporters request Dole to raise rates by 40-50%

Yesterday, the truckers that provide container transport services to Dole, the banana company, protested against the transnational company because they are being paid a very low rate for transporting the bananas from the port complex to the company and to several other parts of the country. The transporters requested the rates were increased between 40% and 50%.

40 transporters participated in the protest, which started at 9 am and lasted late into the evening. They demanded better payment terms at a meeting held in Limon with the authorities of the banana business.

Because of the protest, the transporters didn't move the goods contained in the Dole Chile boat, docked at Pier Moin. Other boats were treated normally, except that of Dole.

Carlos Vasquez, leader of the transporters, said the truckers transported and distributed the products nationwide and that they were not generating profits with what the companies paid them.

He said they were demanding fair payment for the service they provided. He stated that they were requesting a better pay for the transport of 20 ton containers from the boats in Moin to the Dole facilities near the dock, where they have to load another container and take it back to the dock, because they were being paid a total of 6,800¢ for 18 hours of continuous work and they should be earning around 120,000¢ for it, i.e. between 40% and 50% more.

"We are currently fighting for the work being done at the ships, which takes place from the shipping company to the ships, as we are being paid a ridiculous price. That's what our protest is about. Not even taxis would do that," complained Vasquez.

The other mode of transport for which they are protesting is when the transporter is carrying a 27-ton container on a 10-wheel truck. According to Vasquez, they get paid between 150,000 and 170,000¢ for a trip between Limon and San Jose, 100,000 of which is for diesel consumption and 50,000 to pay the driver and vehicle maintenance.

"We are asking that the rates be increased between 40% and 50% because they are terribly low. The amount that Dole pays is not the exception, as all shipping companies do the same thing. Maersk, Chiquita and Del Monte do the same. These companies get together every 15 days or every month to agree on the price they'll pay for transportation so as not to step on each other's toes," said Vasquez.

He also said they were still having discussions with the authorities at Dole and that they had not resumed operations at the Dole Chile ship in Moin yet.


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