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May 20, 2021

Port Workers in Rosario, Argentina Strike over lack of Vaccinations

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

Grain exports from Argentina's main export hub of Rosario came to a halt on Tuesday due to a strike of port workers who are demanding that they be given priority for Covid-19 vaccinations. Argentina registered a record daily high infection rate of Covid-19 on Tuesday as the country struggles with a wave of new infections. Argentina is now one of the five countries with the highest daily infection rates.

The strike involves workers who prepare the vessels for docking and departures, tugboat captains, and workers who guide the vessels to and from the docks.

At least seven vessels were loaded on Tuesday, but they were not able to leave the dock due to the strike which is scheduled to last 48 hours until Thursday afternoon. Complicating the situation even more is the declining water level on the Parana River. When the vessels are able to leave, they may be too heavy for the declining water level. It takes a minimum draft of 34 feet for a fully loaded vessel, but as of late last week, the draft had already dropped to 31 feet.

The union indicated that they lost four of their members in just the last seven days which indicates the ultra-high level of infections with their ranks. In addition to be given priority for vaccinations, they are demanding prevention protocols and medical attention at all of Argentina's ports.

The strike is impacting the Rosario export hub which is responsible for approximately 80% of Argentina's agricultural exports. Argentina is the world's largest exporter of soybean meal and soybean oil and the third largest exporter of soybeans and a major exporter of wheat.