Protest by truck drivers reduces cargo flow in the port of Santos

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The stoppage of autonomous truck drivers is affecting cargo transport in the port of Santos. According to the port authority, 20% of the ships that were berthed this Thursday (4) suffered some kind of impact, either due to delays or because the trucks did not reach the terminals.

Access to the port, however, flows normally, with no records of traffic detentions or concentrations of stopped trucks.

“Around 80% of the ships berthed operate without any restrictions. The rest operate on a smaller scale, due to the caution on the part of carriers and shippers in accessing the port, in view of the fear of reprisals,” said the Ministry of Infrastructure in a statement.

Since last Monday (1st), protesters have gathered in an area close to the entrance to the port, but are still legally prohibited from blocking the roads. The category demands a review of the fuel price policy, compliance with the minimum freight floor and special retirement after 25 years of contribution.

According to a bulletin from the PRF (Federal Highway Police) released by the Ministry of Infrastructure, the mobilization in Santos is currently the only concentration point for truck drivers in the country.

Wagner Souza, executive director of ABTTC (Brazilian Association of Retroport Terminals and Container Carriers), says the strike is hampering the transport of containers to port terminals.

“At Alemoa [bairro onde está localizado o porto de Santos], no trucks with containers are passing through and the loads that are already ready in the retroport terminals are not managing to reach the operator to be shipped,” he says.

Souza cites the example of a port terminal that usually handles 2,000 trucks a day, and which received only eight trucks this Thursday.

“We can say that in three days of autonomous workers stopped and preventing the cargo from reaching the port, there must be, more or less, about 10 thousand containers waiting to be shipped or removed,” he says.

Companies sought by sheet did not give details on the impact of the stoppage on transport flows.

DP World Santos, one of the container terminals that operates in the port, stated that the movement is quite atypical, with few trucks accessing the terminal.

Santos Brasil said that it is operating normally, but that it registered lower than usual movement in and out of trucks. BTP (Brasil Terminal Portuário) reported that its operations are taking place within normal limits.

According to Souza, the boarding problems have occurred not only because of the stoppage of autonomous truck drivers, but also because companies with their own fleet are avoiding putting their vehicles on the highways for fear of reprisals.

On Wednesday (3), the ABTTC issued a note saying it had received reports from associates that their vehicles had been damaged. Sindicam (Union of Autonomous Road Transporters of Goods from Baixada Santista and Vale do Ribeira) denied the protesters’ involvement in the episodes.

This Thursday morning, 200 highway police officers were sent to the Santos region in order to ensure the return to normality and fluidity of transport. According to the PRF, a security corridor is being formed that goes from the access to the terminals to the ascent of Serra do Mar.

For Marcelo da Paz, an autonomous truck driver associated with Sindicam, the arrival of the PRF does not change the strike at all.

“To return to normality, we have to go back to work. An injunction was issued prohibiting us from manifesting ourselves, but there is no one who can make us go back to work. We are autonomous, who is going to force us?”, he says.

According to him, the truck drivers are stopped at the entrance to the port, without demonstrating or chanting orders.

Marcelo says that the vandalism episodes are not related to the strikers.

In the early hours of Monday, protesters arrived to occupy an area near the port, but were dispersed by the Military Police.

In a statement, the PM said that it follows the demonstrations.

“On the first day, it was necessary to use crowd control techniques to clear the accesses to the port. The reinforcement in policing will be maintained until the completion of the acts, in order to guarantee the safety of all and public order”, says the communicated.

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