Chile: Valparaiso contingency plan offers salve amidst port strikes
UPDATE: Chile's port companies, workers and the government have reached a deal to bring strikes to a close. Click here for more details.
Union freedom and the retrospective payment of half hour lunch breaks continue to be the main causes behind a port strike that has gripped many of Chile's key seafreight trading hubs. This has led both exporters and the managers of operational ports to adopt alternative measures, with the goal of finding some normality in a difficult situation. At www.freshfruitportal.com, we speak with Valparaiso Port's general manager of corporate affairs, Cristián Calvetti, who discusses a contingency plan underway.
Calvetti says his company's contingency plan has been working successfully so far, but he hopes the parties involved in the dispute will soon be able to find a resolution.
"We are working elbow to elbow with various segments of the port system; truckers, dealers, operators and maritime port workers," he says.
"We hope the issue can be resolved soon to be able to optimize work in a way that develops the country's port system, and with that, obviously recovers a port that is so important like San Antonio."
He says the port is currently working at full capacity, with a contingency plan to receive ships that have been diverted from other ports so that international trade can continue.
"Today Valparaiso is receiving a significant demand of cargo, however, and I emphasize that the logistical system of the Port of Valparaiso can absorb this demand and continue working normally," he assures.
"We receive cargo from the IV (Coquimbo), V (Valparaiso), VI (O'Higgins) and VII (Maule) regions, out of which the last two are focused on fruits.
He says that to date the Port of Valparaiso has attended to a total of 45 ships, of which 33 have been regular clients and the other 12 have been received due to the strike situation; eight of these have been in the Terminal Pacifico Sur (TPS) and four have been in the Terminal Cerros de Valparaíso (TCVAL).
"We have increased the flow of ships by close to 36%, the flow of trucks by 28% and the surface area in square meters of cargo by 12%. Up until now, there are another 16 ships announced."