Customs go-slow hits ports, airports, borders

Tuesday, May 28, 2002

A weeklong go-slow by Brazil's customs officials is causing backlogs at ports, airports and borders, business daily Gazeta Mercantil reported. The strike began on May 21 and there is no end in sight.

At Santos port in Sao Paulo state, 1,500 containers are waiting to be inspected, while at Foz do Iguacu on the border with Paraguay and Argentina there are some 600 trucks awaiting clearance.

Logistics company Armanzens Gerais Columbia reports daily losses of 50,000 reais (US$20,000). Volumes have fallen to 0-40% capacity at some of the company's installations.

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For another logistics company Deicmar, the strike has increased by two days the time it takes freight to get through customs. "No one stopped totally. They are just making the procedure to release cargo more difficult," Deicmar marketing manager Patricia Sarti said.

Terminal operators at Santos port fear a continuation of the strike will hinder the issuing of documents and prevent ships from docking. "If the ships don't dock, no exports will be shipped," said Joao Arthur de Mello, corporate director of terminal operator Santos Brasil.