Brazilian traders want federal gov’t involved in Paraná River Waterway toll dispute

Brazilian traders want federal gov’t involved in Paraná River Waterway toll dispute

Tuesday, August 1st 2023 – 10:16 UTC

Argentine authorities ordered the seizure of two tugboats belonging to Hidrovías do Brasil

The Brazilian Association for the Development of Inland Navigation (Abani) requested the Brazilian Foreign Ministry takes steps after the Argentine decision to seize a vessel of a Brazilian company in Greater Rosario due to debts in the payment of tolls for using the Paraná River waterway, it was reported.

Abani urged the Brazilian government to call “an extraordinary meeting of the Commission of the Paraguay-Parana Waterway Agreement” to file a complaint following the Argentine government’s decision this year to start charging tolls to vessels sailing north of Santa Fe. Most ships affected by this measure are Paraguayan.

Argentine shipping companies supported the initiative but admitted that the Transport Ministry went too far with the tariff, heavily increasing costs for Argentine oil companies importing soybeans from Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia, while Paraguayan and Brazilian traders maintain the provision violates multilateral treaties and agreements in addition to no work being done to justify charging for a service.

Weeks ago, the Argentine Judiciary ordered the seizure in the port of San Lorenzo of the tugboats HB PHOENIX (Bolivia) and HB GRUS (Paraguay) carrying Brazilian goods. Both ships belong to Hidrovías do Brasil. The units are not to be released until the toll is paid as per the Argentine General Ports Administration rules.

”Abani is extremely concerned that the Argentine government does not respect the Intergovernmental Agreement of the Paraguay-Parana Waterway by unilaterally creating taxes and even more serious is the decision to retain a vessel of a Paraguayan company, a subsidiary of a Brazilian company (Hidrovias do Brasil), which was transporting Brazilian vegetal cargo (grains) from the municipality of Puerto Murtinho, in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul. This decision harms the interests of Brazilian companies established or operating along the Paraguay River,“ the association said in a letter.

”This decision affronts the interests of Brazilian companies established or active along the Paraguay River,“ Abani also pointed out while listing Brazilian investments in the construction of terminals and acquisition of goods for navigation.

”In addition to raising the cost of transportation, causing institutional insecurity, it is already causing damage to the companies and to the Brazilian State,” the group also warned.

Abani will request the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Ports and Airports, the Ministry of Development, Industry, and Commerce (Secretariat of Foreign Trade), the National Department of Transport Infrastructure (DNIT), the National Agency of River Transport (Antaq), the Brazilian Navy, which represents Brazil in the Agreement, and the government of the State of Mato Grosso do Sul, which is the state directly affected, to act so that the Argentine government immediately stops charging an unfounded tariff and to call an extraordinary meeting of the Commission of the Paraguay-Parana Waterway Agreement, it was also explained.

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