"We are holding this demonstration to demand the right to work. Shipping companies must stop being a monopoly," said a CNTCC spokesman.
On Thursday morning, in response to an indefinite strike call made by the National Coordination of Containerized Cargo Transportation (CNTCC), Panamanian workers obstructed the main access routes to the Balboa port and the Colon Free Zone..
Tired of waiting for President Laurentino Cortizo to respond to their demands, they chose to take to the streets their protest against the privileges of foreign corporations, which monopolize logistics activity and generate asymmetric conditions of competition.
"We are holding this demonstration to demand the right to work. Shipping companies must stop being a monopoly," said Abdiel Recuero, a CNTCC spokesman in Balboa.
Some of such companies refuse these claims and assure that the differences arose due to the lack of consensus on some of the points discussed with the transporters. In this regard, Deputy Domestic Trade Minister Omar Montilla invited the parties to continue the dialogue to overcome existing disagreements.
“International shipping companies have been increasing international freight rates, so that cargo carriers are not the only victims of this situation. There are repercussions on the rising cost of food and fuel too,” said Edgardo Voiter, a CNTCC leader at the Colon province.
This issue is particularly affecting ground transportation, customs brokerage, auxiliary services of maritime shipowners, supply chain, and freight forwarding workers.
Since 2019 cargo carriers have been unsuccessfully carrying out complaints to public institutions to denounce the impoverishment of their sector and growing unemployment. In recent days, they requested a meeting with Cortizo to settle the situation once and for all.