CHILE – Chilean port workers, represented by the Chilean Port Union and the Center Port Workers Front halted operations from April 4, 2024, due to frustration over the government’s inaction in addressing port security and development concerns.

According to the union, as highlighted in a recent press release by the country’s port workers’ union, President Boric’s promises regarding port-related issues have gone unfulfilled, urging the government to take concrete action rather than resorting to improvisation.

With 26 ports and over 6,000 workers under its banner, the Unión Portuaria de Chile seeks answers from elected officials regarding issues such as unemployment resulting from decarbonization, as well as the health, safety, and regulatory frameworks for port workers.

The strike announcement has sparked concerns among agricultural stakeholders, particularly regarding the export of fresh produce.

Antonio Walker, president of the National Agriculture Society (SNA), emphasized the critical timing of the strike during the harvest season, stressing the need for uninterrupted shipments to meet global market demands.

Highlighting the perishable nature of their products, Iván Marambio, president of Frutas de Chile, expressed apprehension over potential disruptions to port operations, citing the adverse impact on Chile’s export-dependent economy.

Both Walker and Marambio underscored the urgency of resolving the impasse to safeguard Chile’s agricultural sector and maintain food security, urging all parties to engage in constructive dialogue.

The strike threatens to disrupt Chile’s fruit export, which has seen significant volumes this season, with close to 1.5 million tons already exported, predominantly through maritime channels.

Jorge Valenzuela, president of the Federation of Chilean Fruit Producers (Fedefruta), highlighted the potential setbacks the strike could pose to ongoing harvesting activities, particularly for kiwifruit, apples, and upcoming grape crops.

Valenzuela emphasized the need for preemptive discussions between port workers and government authorities to avert further disruptions.

Despite the challenges posed by climate conditions in the previous year, the fruit industry has been resilient, making the timing of the strike particularly concerning for producers grappling with logistical and financial uncertainties.

Considering the looming strike, fruit producers expressed their willingness to collaborate towards finding a mutually beneficial solution to mitigate the adverse effects on Chilean port operations and ensure the uninterrupted flow of exports.

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