July 2, 2013 / 1:45 PM / 4 years ago

Brazil truck strike delays grain deliveries at Santos port

SAO PAULO, July 2 (Reuters) - Deliveries of grains via
trucks were totally paralyzed at Brazil's main port of Santos on
Tuesday, the second day of a truck drivers strike, although
exports are continuing, the port authority said.
    Some two thirds of grains are delivered to Santos by trucks.
Brazil has not developed train networks and waterways the way
the Western hemisphere's other agricultural powerhouse, the
United States, has.
    Despite fewer deliveries, shipments continued because
exporting firms hold grains in private storage units to minimize
the effect of interruptions in ground transport, according to
Codesp, the Santos Port authority.
    Exports had slowed due to frequent rains in the past few
weeks, meaning stocks in silos near the ports had increased.
    Truckers protesting on the Anchieta highway that links Sao
Paulo to Brazil's main Santos port triggered a 4-kilometer
(2.9-mile) traffic jam, according to the highway operator
Ecovias.
    MUBC, as the most influential truckers union in Brazil is
known, said protests linked to the strike were also occurring in
parts of top coffee-growing state Minas Gerais, the main sugar
producing state Sao Paulo, top soybean producer Mato Grosso, as
well as in Espirito Santo, Bahia, Rio de Janeiro, Parana and Rio
Grande do Sul.
    The federal government secured an injunction on Monday that
prevents protesters blocking federal highways, which could limit
the impact of the protests. 
    MUBC's demands include a subsidy for diesel fuel, exemptions
on highway toll payments for drivers and the creation of a new
federal government department of cargo transportation.
    The union last went on strike for a week in July 2012,
disrupting the flow of goods in the country's heavily populated
southeast region and raising concerns over food inflation. 
    Brazil is moving the last of a record soybean harvest to its
ports, and shipments of sugar and corn picked up, data from the
trade ministry showed on Monday. 
    The strike is scheduled to end on Thursday, according to the
MUBC.

 (Reporting by Gustavo Bonato; Additional reporting and writing
by Caroline Stauffer; editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)

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