SÃO PAULO (Reuters) - The number of ships waiting to berth at Brazilian ports to load soybeans and its byproducts is currently almost 60 percent larger than in the same period last year, according to data from shipping agency Williams compiled by Reuters.
At the same time, the amount of ships that are berthed and currently loading is 42 percent smaller than seen at this time last year.
Associations representing soy processors and grain exporters said the situation is caused by slower transportation of grains from producing regions to the ports, mainly due to lack of definition of truck freight prices following a nationwide truckers strike last month.
A source at a shipping operator, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak to press, said another cause for the slow loading and large number of ships at bay was still the truckers protests for 11 days in May that paralyzed grain transportation in the country.
According to Williams, there were 46 vessels at bay in Brazilian ports waiting to berth and load soybeans, soymeal and other grains. One year ago at the same period, there were only 29 ships at bay.
Brazilian Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi said on Tuesday that the lack of definition of new values for truck freight was delaying grain transportation and leading to shipping delays.
Owners of goods are at odds with the government over minimum truck freight prices it proposed as a measure to end the strike and many are refusing to hire trucks. An initial list with freight prices was canceled after complaints it made transportation too expensive.
Companies who have their own truck fleet are able to transport goods, but those who depend on independent truckers are delaying transportation until a solution is found.
Additional reporting and writing by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama