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Losses valued at US$200 million

Peru and Chile resume fruit exports after transport strikes

Farmers in Peru and Chile, two of the leading exporters of fresh fruit from the southern hemisphere, were able to resume shipments this Tuesday. Peru and Chile interrupted their shipments in the middle of their grape and cherry seasons, respectively, because of the strikes carried out by different transport sectors of both countries that were protesting the increase in fuel costs.

The governments of both countries negotiated with the protestors and, on Tuesday, managed to defuse the demonstrations, which -between both countries- left losses of more than US$200 million for the sector.

According to Esteban Valenzuela, the Chilean Minister of Agriculture, the losses in his sector amounted to US$60 million during the 8 days of mobilizations that began on November 21 and ended on the night of November 28. "If the protests continued, the losses could have reached US$500 million," he said, citing the losses that the cherry sector would have.

In Peru the losses during the 7 days of mobilizations were higher. The president of ADEX, Julio Perez Alvan, said that the roadblocks carried out by the heavy freight transport unions in the national strike generated daily losses of US$25 million, and a total loss of about US$175 million.

"All this crisis will cause an accumulation of stocks pending shipment that will lead to delaying all the schedules for December and January. However, the most important consequences will be seen in the future, as this will put at risk contracts with international customers, affecting the image of our country as a reliable supplier," Alvan said.

In Peru, the paralysis congested the refrigerators where the harvest could be stored, especially the grapes produced in the north of the country, and several producers had to interrupt their harvests. The general manager of Provid, Alejandro Cabrera, said the cold chambers were full of cargo that they haven't been able to take out of the packing plants since Tuesday 22, the day the strike began. "The fruit is stored cold until it's shipped out. At that moment, the cold chambers can be used to store new fruit that has been harvested from the field. However, since that chain has been broken, there is no way to continue the process.”

In Chile, the president of Asoex, Ivan Marambio, stated that this weekend Cherry Express services departed the country with less than half the cargo.

“There were three vessels this weekend; Friday's vessel departed with 50% of the cargo, the one on Saturday with 30%, and last night's vessel with practically zero cargo,” Marambio lamented.

Source: Redagrícola / 

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