Port blockades in Colombia remain significant, says correspondent

Standard Club’s correspondent in Colombia, A&A Multiprime, has said that while the number of protests, public demonstrations and blockages in Colombia had reduced, members should note that the effect of blockades on ports was still significant, especially at Buenaventura.

The update was in relation to the national strikes that have been taking place across the country since April 28th, following the government’s filing of a tax reform proposal in Congress on April 15th.

Protesters and indigenous communities were continuing to blockade, albeit sporadically, the main road that connects the port of Buenaventura with the rest of the country, and the capacity of terminals to store bulk and containerized cargo remained limited.

The Chamber of Commerce of Buenaventura reported that more than 540,000 mt of cargo, both bulk and containerized, was held up at the port. This cargo cannot be moved because of lack of transportation. Consequently the port’s storage space was low as the container and bulk terminals were at or above 80% and 90% capacity. Given the local situation, some shipping lines were not currently calling at Buenaventura. It was hoped that, following dialogue between the government and the protesters, transport operations would resume, though this was initially expected to be a slow process A&A Multiprime said.

The situation at the port of Puerto Bolivar was better, the correspondent said. Coal operations had resumed following the clearing of blockades on the railway that connects the coal mine with Puerto Bolivar. Following this, operations at this port had resumed and workers were gradually returning to their duties at the mine.

A&A Multiprime advised that at this stage it was difficult to predict what would happen in the short term. However, negotiations between the government and protesters continued, and there was also an order in place to clear the blockades.