RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Vice Minister of Foreign Trade and Integration of the Bolivian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Benjamín Blanco, informed that his country’s government is working hard with its Peruvian counterpart to make Ilo an alternative port given the recurring problems that occur in the port of Chile for Bolivian foreign trade.
“We are working hard with Peru to be able to have an alternative, so that Ilo becomes a real port alternative and we have the possibility of being able, in case these things happen, to divert our trade and be able to use other ports,” said the deputy minister.
Since mid-December 2021, the slowness and bureaucracy in the Covid-19 test at the Tambo Quemado border post with Chile delay the entry of hundreds of Bolivian trucks with export products to the port. “This delay is a detriment to Bolivian foreign trade,” Blanco remarked.
He said that Bolivia pays 33% more than the rest of the countries to go out to the ocean, and these delays make the charge multiply and are much more significant.
“If we are barely two-thirds of what we need to cross through that (Chilean) port, then we are having difficulties with the fulfillment of contracts because at the time the ship leaves, it left, they do not wait for the missing trucks to arrive, then there are several problems,” lamented the authority.
Blanco indicated that another problem is returning containers with a deadline. If they are not returned within the specified period, “the shipping companies charge fines and do not understand reasons”.
“We there claim that they must take into account these special situations (of delays that occur in the Port of Chile), but they are running fines that are charged day by day, plus the costs related to the overstay of people in port must also be borne by commercial operators, by transport companies and drivers,” said the official.
He explained that several costs and damages have the Bolivian foreign trade that recurrently is presented, so the efforts with the Peruvian authorities to access the port of Ilo represent an essential option.
“We hope that during this year, thanks to the close relationship we have with the Peruvian government, important progress can be made, and we can be giving good news to our population,” said the Secretary of State.