Strike hits grain ports

Labour strife has once again impacted operations at Argentina’s key grain export ports.

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Urgara, a union made up of cargo controlling surveyors, has halted work at the Buenos Aires province ports of Necochea and Bahia Blanca, according to Nabsa, a Buenos Aires shipbroker and agent.

Local media reports also indicate that the grain port of Rosario in Santa Fe province, which is the third facility where Urgara has a presence, is impacted by the strike.

The strike began Tuesday.

“Urgara’s nationwide strike has prevented the loading of ships,” Martin Caraffo, the president of Necochea’s Port Quequen, told the city’s Ecos Diarios newspaper.

Northeast Argentina is a major exporter of grains, and the bulker market has already suffered this spring from a delay in the seasonal surge of cargoes shipped to China.

Those cargoes are expected to hit the market about the same time as the seasonal US export surge later this summer, boosting the market for vessels of panamaxes and below.

But labour strife is common in Argentina.

The latest strike comes as Ugarsa seeks pay raises from international grain trading houses that control the country’s export terminals.

A meeting to resolve the dispute is scheduled for this afternoon.