Cordex, the umbrella organization of Ecuador's export associations, which brings together more than 700 companies that generate some 900,000 direct and indirect jobs and more than $13 billion in foreign currency annually, has denounced that insecurity in strategic areas such as ports is seriously affecting its logistics operations.
On September 9 and 10, for example, some tugboats working with a ship were extorted by organized crime gangs operating in Puerto Bolivar, in the province of El Oro. As a result of this incident, 400 containers could not be exported on time. This affected the quality of the product and its competitiveness, by incurring additional costs associated with unforeseen movements in the fruit load.
In response, a meeting was convened on Tuesday, September 12, between representatives of the Ecuadorian Navy, the police, the Secretary of Maritime Transport and Ports, the port authorities of Guayaquil and Puerto Bolívar, and private maritime companies operating in the province of El Oro. They agreed to draw up a comprehensive plan to ensure the safety of personnel on board private vessels and ensure that navigation activities can be carried out normally.
"This intervention by the control authorities allows us to resume the logistical flow in Puerto Bolívar. However, Cordex requests the government to permanently guarantee the security of international trade activities in other port terminals to prevent similar events from occurring in other parts of the country," the organization stated.
The banana sector is also concerned about the smuggling of drugs in its shipments, despite the investment that the sector has made in private tracking systems and other operational measures throughout its value chain. The investment in security for the banana sector alone exceeds $100 million annually and the export sector invests more than $200 million annually in security to try to control drug shipments and protect itself from other crimes.