Guatemala: Economic Disaster Caused by Customs Blockades

The union of exporters has reported losses of $145 million, and more than 12,000 shipping containers held up because of the blockades which have now been going on for more than a week.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Reports indicate that two shipping companies have suspended operations at the ports and announced they will not disembark because of "inability to ensure the safety of their staff."This is just one example of the serious damage caused to in the country by the blockades and demonstrations held by truckers for almost a week at customs offices and ports in Guatemala.

Jean Paul Brichaux, from the Council for International Transport Users of Guatemala (Cutrigua), told that "... the situation is reaching a point of 'chaos' and it is a 'national emergency' for all sectors, because nobody can import raw materials for production, nor export, affecting the entire chain."

"... Despite this, the expert says he understands the decision of the shipping companies, as they are liner ships that have set hours and days for deliveries, and being unable to move their product safely, will continue on to the next destination."

From a statement issued by Agexport:

Perishable products such as shrimp, vegetables, fresh fruits, frozen fruits, rubber, wood floors, raw materials, chemicals, locking plates, folding cartons and other items were unable to be exported because of the strikes held by drivers of heavy transport vehicles and, according to exporters around US $29.5 million is exported every day.

The most serious damage being done to the country is those actions that affect Guatemalan workers. The consequences of these actions are losses of income for about 300 thousand families in rural areas who have sent vegetables and fruits. 

More on this topic

Santo Tomás Forecasts Increase in Maritime Cargo

April 2018

Due to a recovery of customers and the start-up of a new route, the port terminal in Guatemala expects to mobilize 320,000 containers this year, 8% more than in 2017.

Starting in May, the Santo Tomás de Castilla National Port Company (Empornac) will have a new logistics route that will connect the Guatemalan port with the Mexican terminal of Puerto Morelos, in the state of Quintana Roo.

Blockades at Guatemala - Mexico Customs Offices

July 2016

Losses of up to $1 million a day in exports are being reported due to demonstrations which have closed off Customs offices in Tecun Uman, El Carmen and La Mesilla for the last 8 days.

Although the union of exporters has tried to contact the Mexican authorities to end the blockade that is preventing the free movement of goods from Guatemala to Mexico, the problem has not been resolved and customs offices have now been paralyzed for eight days.

Blockades Continue on Costa Rica - Panama Border

February 2016

The union has exhausted dialogue with the regional government of Chiriqui and is a blockading the border preventing the movement of freight carriers in Central America.

The provincial government in Chiriqui has failed to prevent Panamanian carriers, organized by the National Chamber of Cargo Transportation in Panama, (Canatraca) from indefinitely blocking the passage of trucks across the border in Paso Canoas (information at time of going to press at 3:30 p.m).

Guatemala: Maritime Freight to US More Expensive

September 2015

Shipping companies are preparing to increase by between 10% and 12% the rates for maritime transport from Guatemala to the United States.

These increases have yet to be confirmed by the Federal Maritime Commission of the United States, explained Rolando Coronado, president of the Shipping Association of Guatemala, but the export sector predicts a deterioration in competitiveness.

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