Threats to Cargo Transport Continue

Arguing that there is unfair treatment in the other countries of the region, Costa Rican drivers of cargo vehicles block the transit through the border posts of Penas Blancas and Paso Canoas.

Friday, October 9, 2020

The conflict dates back to May of this year, when the Costa Rican government decided that only transporters who made direct border-crossings would enter its territory, arguing that this measure was intended to mitigate the spread of covid-19. On that occasion, most countries decided to apply reciprocity policies.

At the end of September, Costa Rican authorities decided to eliminate most of the restrictions that had been maintained, and now trucks with license plates from other countries are allowed to load and unload directly in the warehouses of the companies, without prior authorization.

See "Freight Transport at Borders: Endless Problem"

Although the restrictions were removed, Costa Rican pilots claim that they are treated unequally in most Central American countries.

Marjorie Lizano, president of the Costa Rican Chamber of Unitary Transporters (CCTU) told that despite the fact that Costa Rica relaxed the restrictions "... trucks with Costa Rican plates are required to unload the merchandise in fiscal warehouses in the rest of the countries, except Guatemala, which lifted the measure on Tuesday, June 7."

Lizano added that "... the closure of transporters in Paso Canoas, on the border with Panama, joined the demonstrations of the population against the government. At that border point the action of the community is more visible, because they even put land and other materials on the road."

Also see "Central America: Disruption of the Logistics Chain"

In an attempt to justify that the border crossings are not closed, Duayner Salas, Minister of Foreign Trade, explained on the afternoon of October 8 that government authorities are maintaining services in Paso Canoas and Penas Blancas.

Salas admitted that the flow of cargo transport is interrupted by Costa Rican pilots.

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Cargo transport: Convoy Figure Replaced

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Following the protests reported on August 29, Costa Rican authorities decided that as of September 9, units with foreign plates transiting from border to border in the country will be monitored by GPS and will no longer be given convoy escort.

As a form of protest, drivers of cargo vehicles kept the traffic blocked at Paso Canoas, a border post between Panama and Costa Rica.

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The measures imposed on heavy transport in the region have gradually been relaxed. The difficulties began when Costa Rica, arguing that it was trying to mitigate the outbreak of covid-19, unilaterally decided that as of 18 May only carriers carrying out direct border-to-border transit would enter Costa Rican territory, whose units would have to be subject to police surveillance. 

Border Strike Now Five Days Old

March 2013

Costa Rican Carriers have blocked cargo vehicles from crossing the Costa Rica - Panama border at Paso Canoas, in protest against control procedures by Panamanian officials.

The blockade has lasted five days and involves about a thousand trucks detained on both sides of the border.