Heavy truck drivers who provide transportation services have announced that they will stop work on Tuesday, January 17, to express their opposition to the alleged irregular payment of fines.
Prensalibre.com reports that "...Rony Mendoza, director of the Union of Drivers of Heavy Transporters, said the strike will be supported by rural, teaching and indigenous organizations, therefore they expect the participation of about 35 thousand people.However, at least two of these unions refused to give their support."
The municipality of Guatemala City gave in to pressure and changed the rules on the restrictions of the movement of heavy transport vehicles in the capital, putting an end to a strike that lasted for almost 9 days.
The Municipality reviewed the new rules restricting movement of cargo vehicles in the capital and decided to keep them in place on weekdays and reduce the time slot during which they can not enter the capital on Saturdays and Sundays.
The Guatemalan Exporters Association wishes to express to the different sectors involved in the current crisis affecting transport and the free movement of people and goods, the need to remedy the situation.
From a statement issued by the Guatemalan Exporters Association (AGEXPORT):
A strike has been announced for October 27 and 28 unless the government meets demands regarding new rules restricting movement of cargo vehicles in the capital.
The Union of Heavy Transporters has threatened to extend the planned strike until next week if the municipality does not meet their demands regarding new schedules for circulation of heavy transport vehicles in Guatemala City.
Added to the factors already deteriorating competitiveness in the export sector are increased thefts of merchandise on the country's roads and infiltration of drug trafficking in exports.
The National Chamber of Cargo Carriers (Canatrac) reports that attacks on trucks on roads in the country have increased since 2012.They state "... on average 12 assaults used to be committed per year, however the figure has risen to 20 in recent years'."
Businessmen have complained to the Executive office about the slowness and inefficiency of customs inspections of the country, where containers are retained for up to 15 days.
The truckers blockade which paralyzed customs offices in Jutiapa for a week, has made entrepreneurs question the efficiency of border posts in the country because of the time invested in land transport. They claim the process is slow and makes products more expensive as well as harming the competitiveness of the country.
Insurance against damage to third parties and a single registration for each unit are part of the announced amendments to the regulations on heavy transport in the country.
In 15 days reforms could take effect which include fining drivers instead of the companies that own the vehicles. In addition, employers must provide drivers documentation in order to hold them accountable in case of possible accidents.
Cargo carriers are reporting that customs formalities can take up to 27 hours, due to the constant changes of personnel and their lack of training.
On the border of La Hachadura and Amatillo there are 15 kilometer long lines of vans which are waiting make the appropriate arrangements to pass through. Representatives from the Association of International Freight (Astic) have called for the establishment of a permanent table with the customs office in order to discuss and solve these problems, however, "... the General Department of Customs has shown no interest ...".
Due to a reduction in the volume of cargo handled, the international land transport company GASH has reduced its staff by 65 workers.
The company founded on Costa Rican capital argues that the volume of cargo handled has reduced in the last three months. GASH Transport International SA has been operating in the market for land transport at national and regional level for 60 years, and also has a terminal in Nicaragua.
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