Blockades draw northern Peruvian port to a standstill
The northern Peruvian port of Paita has been blocked off by disgruntled fishing industry workers, disrupting local industry and preventing agricultural exports.
Lucho Llanes, from dried mango exporter Procesos Agroindustriales SAC, told www.freshfruitportal.com the protesters have set up barricades that are blocking access to the port town from Piura and Sullana.
"It's terrible. They have got together and put barricades up so that nobody can get through, they've been throwing stones, lighting tires on fire and pinching tires too," he said.
"We have our factory in Paita and source the raw material of the mangos from Sullana, but we can't get them in a quick way to our plant.
"Apart from the raw material, the other problem is the gas that we need to operate the plant, and our workers can't get in either. I have mango that is decomposing and is being lost - I have probably lost US$10,000 worth of raw material so far."
He added the company had a container of dried mangoes ready to ship on Monday, but the Hapag Lloyd ship that was to pick it up did not touch down in Paita due to the violence at the port.
"The fisherman have attacked offices that administer the port," he said
"I wasn't able to send my container, while others haven't been able to either with good including avocadoes, fishing products and even fresh mangoes."
Llanes said the fishing industry was demanding an increase in the tonnage limited and the government had agreed to their request, but the minister responsible was not in the country and could not sign-off on the proposed changes.
Port administrator Terminales Portuarios Euroandinos told website Gestion.pe the blockade had led to US$7 million in losses so far.