Argentine port workers will stage a 24-hour strike Thursday to demand certainties from the national government regarding the official port policy. The measure will affect operations at Buenos Aires and other terminals, it was announced.
The decision was made by the port workers' union FeMPINRA (Maritime Port and Naval Industry Federation of the Argentine Republic) given what they consider a situation of uncertainty generated by the national government regarding the call for tenders to renew the concessions of the port terminals and the progress in the awards for the work of the waterway in the Uruguay River.
The main concern of the unions in recent years was the future of Terminal 5 operated by BACTSSA, the local subsidiary of the multinational Hutchinson, whose concession had expired in May last year after several extensions that the government refused to grant since the legislation currently in force only allowed for this mechanism to be used for a period equivalent to 20% of the concession.
In 2021 the federal government nationalized the concession of the waterway through the General Administration of Ports (AGP), thus ending 25 years of management by Compañía Argentina de Dragados, run by the Belgian company Jan de Nul and the local firm Emepa. The State's management, in theory, would last one year until the Government called for a new bidding process.
Since April last year, when the concession in charge of Hidrovía SA ended, decisions were taken that unfortunately created a real quagmire in the awarding of the main navigation route, according to FeMPINRA.
A week ago, the unions had already declared a state of alert due to the delays and bureaucratic procedures around the tenders of the metropolitan port and the trunk navigation system.
The National Board of Directors of FeMPINRA also questioned that some equipment has been returned to the Undersecretary of Ports, Waterways and Merchant Marine (SSPyVN), such as a beacon that remains inactive, due to the lack of coordination with the Foreign Ministry, in charge of the Administrative Commission of the Uruguay River (CARU).
FeMPINRA also called for the creation of a national merchant fleet and decried the recent closing of the shipyard UABL-ATRIA in Punta Alvear.
Not knowing what will happen in the future of these activities, the need to establish minimum criteria in the sectorial policy increases, issues that the authorities of the area do not succeed in defining, the labor grouping also said.