Strikes Backlogging Brazilian Ports

Brazilian Customs officials continued the slowdown in inspections at most Brazilian ports this week, leaving long queues of ships waiting to dock, according to a report by the Journal of Commerce. Industrial actions of varying lengths and degrees have affected operations in most major Brazilian ports, including Santos, Paranagua, Salvador, Manaus, Santarem, Santana, Sao Luis and Itacoatiara.

Customs officers had originally advised shipping agents that they would stop work for two days a week and work at a minimal level on the remaining days until an agreement is reached. Customs officials will now continue their "Turtle Strike" while negotiations are underway, which means they are working at a very low speed in most of the ports. Delays are expected across ports and airports across the country.

The impact of these strikes is worsening, advises Inchcape Shipping Services, a maritime services provider. The latest action is expected to severely impact cargo clearance and vessel movements.

With customs officers doubling efforts from two days per week of strike action up to four days, major ports during the period will have no import or export clearance, no transit clearance and no process operations, with only medicines, food and livestock unaffected.

Cargo is currently being cleared in a backlog, affecting import and export processes and delaying operations. With the additional strike days putting more pressure on port operations, some ports may have to refuse cargo if the action continues. Congestion at some ports is already impacting anchorage areas, forcing ships to deviate to other less congested ports.

With cargo clearances and processes already more expensive, the strike is further affecting commerce and customs’ leaders are expecting this latest action to reinforce their negotiating position to the government on salaries and working conditions.

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