Regional Trade: Options for Overcoming the Crisis

To be able to ship cargo throughout the region, Central American business leaders are exploring options for moving goods using alternative methods, such as shipping.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Representatives from the Costa Rican government and the union of exporters met to address the issue of blockades in Nicaragua and the logistical drawbacks that they have caused, since Costa Rica transports by land about five thousand containers to the other Central American countries every month. As a result of this meeting, both parties concluded that the most viable option is to use maritime transport.

Reporting on the topic, published that " ... After more than two hours of deliberations, representatives from almost all of the chambers, the president in office and Chancellor, Epsy Campbell, the minister of coordination with the private sector, André Garnier, and officials from the Ministries of Foreign Trade (Comex), Public Works and Transportation (MOPT), concluded that the air option is impossible because of the high costs and that the solution is maritime options.See "Entrepreneurs and Costa Rican government look to sea transport to overcome blockades in Nicaragua" (In Spanish)

For its part, the Logistics Business Council of Panama requested that the Central American Integration System intercede with the Government of Nicaragua, to liberate cargo transport units in the country, which have been trapped in Nicaraguan territory for 16 days.

René Paredes, president of the National Chamber of Transport and Cargo of Panama, explained to that what they are requesting " ...' is that the protocols of the regional integration organizations be activated so that Nicaragua, as a member of SICA, is granted a period of between 8 and 10 days for the passage of transport units with international license plates to be released. We need the goods in transit to arrive at their destination and for transporters to be able to return to their country'.See "Cargo transporters request assistance from SICA"(In Spanish)

From a statement issued by the Government of Costa Rica:

The incumbent president, Epsy Campbell Barr, convened an inter-institutional meeting with the private sector, in an effort to mitigate the direct impact on land imports and exports from Costa Rica to Central America, as a result of the political crisis in Nicaragua. 
The meeting took place this Wednesday in the Presidential House with the participation of Campbell, the Minister of Public Works and Transportation, Rodolfo Méndez Mata; the appointed Minister of Foreign Trade, Dyalá Jiménez; the Minister of Coordination and Liaison with the private sector, André Garnier, and a score of business representatives. 

Read full article (in Spanish).

More on this topic

Maritime Transport: Too Expensive to Be Sustainable

June 2020

Currently, transporting goods by sea between Central American countries can increase freight costs by at least 60% compared to the land option, which represents an obstacle to changing the way goods are transferred in the region.

As a result of the closure of the Penas Blancas customs crossing, on the border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua, some businessmen in the region had to resort to the sea route in order to deliver their orders.

Crisis and its Impact on the Region

October 2018

The complex economic and political situation that has affected Nicaragua since April continues to affect Central America, where exporters report losses of $45 million.

In the past months, cargo transport faced difficulties in moving goods along Nicaragua's highways due to demonstrators' blockades and insecurity, seriously affecting Central American companies.

Cargo Ferry Between La Union and Caldera Back On the Table

July 2018

In order to minimize some of the impact that the Nicaraguan crisis has had on intraregional trade, the governments of Costa Rica and El Salvador have announced that they are now in a position to start ferry operations.

After unsuccessfully trying to implement this maritime cargo transport option, in May of last year the Spanish shipping company Odiel decided to end the negotiation process to operate the ferry, due to a disagreement over the setting of tariffs that would have to be charged for the service. Since then, the project has been forgotten.  

Central America and The Cost of the Crisis

June 2018

With the paralyzation of the cargo transport and the retention of about 6 thousand units in Nicaragua, the region is starting to feel the effects of a crisis with no potential solution in the short term.

The crisis in Nicaragua has created high costs in all countries in the region, as according to the latest report it is estimated that at least some 6,000 heavy cargo vehicles are trapped due to the violence and blockades that have intensified in the last weeks.