Freight carriers initiate national strike, denounce unfair practice by shipping companies
Freight carriers are asking the authorities to intervene due to the great losses they are having.
Since the early hours of this Thursday, September 23, cargo carriers began an extendable work stoppage closing the Puerto Balboa crossing and other sectors of the country, with the intention of denouncing the alleged unfair practice by international shipping companies.
According to cargo transport companies, shipping companies seek to monopolize the sector, offering land cargo service to customers when their work is maritime.
"They offer our clients their services. We have told them to get their hands out of our business, we met with them for months, we reached agreements and the same thing continues to happen," said Gabriel Soto, leader of the sector. Their concern dates back to 2019 when they reported it to the authorities, agreed to establish a regulatory framework, and they still have no answers.
In addition to this, the carriers denounced the increase in the cost of operations, despite the fact that the rate they are paid has remained the same for years. They ask the authorities to intervene due to the great losses they are having.
For his part, Omar Montilla, Vice Minister of Internal Trade, said that they have met on several occasions with cargo carriers, representatives of shipping companies and businessmen, and have reached some agreements, however, he indicated that due to the small amount of cargo that is being mobilized in the country there is a considerable demand.
"We have been meeting at the Chamber of Commerce where the president of the Chamber of Commerce has been the guarantor of some agreements, the carriers agreed that they were going to collect some signatures of agreements, however, we have to understand that this is an issue between carriers private companies and shipping companies that are private companies, the government is the guarantor that this dialogue continues,” said Montilla.
Montilla denied that the National Government is defending international shipping companies, and assured that they are only facilitators of trade.
He called on the cargo carriers to form a delegation to establish a dialogue with the shipping companies in the Presidency and reach an understanding.
In the previous months, cargo carriers were also paralyzed, which is why they have been having economic effects.
The Logistics Business Council expressed its concern at this call for a national strike by transporters and requests the intervention of the Government.