Argentine grains shipping back to normal after strike suspended


Grains shipping from Argentina’s main port system of Rosario returned to normal on Wednesday after the government ordered dock workers to go back to work after a week-old strike that had slowed soy and corn exports to a trickle.

About 80 percent of Argentine grains exports are shipped from Rosario, a vast port complex located on the country’s main Parana River waterway.

“The strike was lifted this morning,” Edgardo Quiroga, head of the San Lorenzo chapter of the CGT labor union, told Reuters by telephone. Guillermo Wade, head of Argentina’s CAPyM port operators’ chamber also said port activity was back to normal.

The strike had halted the loading of vessels that transport grains, oilseeds and their derivatives. Companies like Bunge and Cargill have crushing plants and terminals in the region, situated near Argentina’s Pampas farm belt.

On Tuesday, Argentina’s labor ministry ordered the strikers back to work. It told the port workers and export companies they had 15 days to reach a wage deal, in order to “prevent more harm” to the country’s key grains exporting industry.

Strikes are common in Argentina, where companies are hard-pressed to offer wage increases in line with inflation, which is currently at a 24 percent 12-month rate.

Argentina is the world’s top exporter of soymeal livestock feed, its No. 2 corn supplier and third biggest soybean exporter.

Source: Reuters (Reporting by Maximilian Heath; Writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

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