IN PARAGUAY THEY EXPECT A REGIONAL PROTEST AGAINST ARGENTINE TOLL ON THE PARANÁ RIVER
Businessmen from the neighboring country aim to achieve a claim from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the adhesion of Bolivia, Brazil and Uruguay.
“Argentina’s decision to create a toll of US$ 1.47 per ton in the Waterway, would be only to collect and would add US$ 35 million per year to logistics costs,” said Paraguayan shipping businessman Juan Carlos Muñoz.
“That is why the claim of the National Chancellery is expected, with the adhesion of Bolivia, Brazil and Uruguay”, he added.
Last week, in a measure that has been generating growing discomfort in Paraguay, the Argentine Ministry of Transportation established the decision to charge a toll for those who transit through the trunk of the Waterway within its territory, according to Resolution No. 625/2022, published in the Official Gazette.
The toll charge will be US$ 1.47 per net registered ton and the rate will be applied by the General Administration of Ports (AGP) of Argentina.
The measure involves navigation from km 584 of the Paraná River, access to the Port of Santa Fe, to km 1,238 of the same river, in the area known as Confluencia.
In declarations reproduced by the Paraguayan newspaper ABC, Muñoz stated that, although it is a sovereign section of Argentina, the Waterway Treaty clearly indicates that any fee to be charged on any section of the waterway must be previously consulted among all the member countries, in this case the five nations: Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Brazil and Uruguay.
“The rate that is intended to be established has to be in accordance with the services provided; but in this case there is no dredging in that section and the signaling is quite scarce”, he said.
Muñoz, a reference in the field of Paraguayan river and maritime shipowners, estimated that with the intended toll of US$ 1.47 per gross registered ton, considering the measurement of the payload of a convoy of 20 barges, the charge would be about US$ 20,000 per trip, which means that with round trip it will be double.
He added that this toll would add between US$ 25 million and US$ 35 million to the logistic costs of our foreign trade.
He pointed out that Paraguay maintains the concept of free navigation and it would seem that the purpose of this announced toll by Argentina is merely to collect revenue and not to provide services.