No trade route could be considered more important than another, because the ports and cities that depend on them regard them all as crucial. This is the case of the Paraná-Paraguay Waterway, which runs from Buenos Aires along the course of the Paraná River, covering river ports in Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay. Aware of the importance of the Paraná-Paraguay Waterway, the UK P&I Club organized a webinar to discuss the main issues that have affected the river route during the pandemic. In six panels, which covered everything from claims trends and current issues to Covid-19, customs issues, Marpol Annex VI, and the own trends experienced in the Waterway, professionals from the maritime industry in Argentina and legal experts from the UK P&I Club discussed how this key route into the interior of Latin America has adapted to the pandemic and other changes in the last year.

Leanne O’Loughlin, UK P&I Club Regional Director for the Americas delivered the keynote address, welcoming the speakers and attendees, followed by three general panels on COVID-19, the Marpol Annex VI sulfide limit regulation and the specific tendencies of the Hidrovía.

Local owners and charters operating on the Paraná-Paraguay Waterway face very specific challenges. Sebastián Trigub, Pandi Liquidadores and correspondent for the UK P&I Club in Buenos Aires, Argentina, referred to these challenges, such as stranding, a frequent problem due to the geographical characteristics of the Hidrovía, which causes delays and generates claims. Another challenge faced by the operators in the Hidrovía is the damage caused by water erosion, caused especially by the docking conditions in the rivers. Coast guard fines are another problem faced by local ship owners and charters, especially related to speed restrictions due to shallow depths between km 405 to 436. “When a ship is fined it can be detained until fines are canceled, which causes a delay in transit times, “says Trigub, who adds that this regulation has been in force since November 2019 and even applies to ships with foreign crews. Other problems are cargo hold inspections, cargo claims, cargo discrepancies, unproductive penalties for terminal delays, customs fines, Covid-19, waste management and the Argentine water moth. Otro tema en el que se hizo foco fue el Covid-19, la pandemia de coronavirus no ha obviado a la Hidrovía. Taylor Coley, Claims Executive UK P&I Club presentó sobre los desafíos que enfrentan los dueños locales y los charteadores en la Hidrovía respecto del Covid-19: dificultades de repatriación, cuarentenas impuestas por las autoridades sanitarias y complicaciones de los firmantes. 

The session ended with a dynamic conversation between Rafael Díaz-Oquendo, Senior Claims Executive UK P&I Club and Gustavo Ruggiero, partner Ruggiero & Fernández Llorente, who discussed trade in the Waterway and current challenges and trends.