Costa Rican ports re-open for pineapple and banana exports
Police have stepped in to re-open two Costa Rican ports that have been at a standstill since Tuesday when 1,500 workers downed tools to oppose concessions for a private dock, website Laprensagrafica.com reported
Contract workers have been employed to operate the docks of Moín and Alemán , which handle 70-80% of the country’s exports, to the relief of the pineapple and banana industries who feared fruit shipments were at risk of perishing.
Port employees are protesting against the exclusivity of cargo loading and unloading at a new private pier due to be built shortly by Dutch firm APM Terminals.
In August the government signed a 30-year concession agreement with APM Terminals to build a US$990 million dock for the entry and departure of all Costa Rican goods.
The trade union (Sintrajap) representing workers at the Atlantic Board of Port Administration and Development (Japdeva) said they would continue action with road blockades in Limón province.
Sintrajap claims the 30-year agreement prevents companies from choosing which dock to use as well as limiting service and rates competition.
The first phase of the new dock is expected to be up and running by 2016, allowing it to service vessels coming from the Panama Canal.
The government has said it will only enter negotiations with the workers when they finish their strike.
The teachers’ and social security unions have offered to support Sintrajap with the threat of starting industrial action from Jun. 26.
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Photo: APM Terminals