NAVIERAS ADOPTAN ‘FLETE POR COBRAR’ EN ARGENTINA PARA EVITAR PAGOS EN MONEDA LOCAL
The measure will be in effect as of June for exports from the country.
A group of eight shipping lines, led by MSC, announced that as of June they will apply a ‘freight collect’ for exports from Argentina, i.e., the consignee of the cargo will have to pay the value of the transport once it is received. The measure follows the same trend imposed by the Central Bank of Argentina’s regulation of not charging for imports into Argentina, which has been in practice for a couple of weeks now. According to Argentine and international press reports, the companies were accumulating Argentine pesos and at the same time were unable to remit dollars.
The Federation of Foreign Trade Chambers of the Argentine Republic (Fecacera) expressed in a letter to a group of authorities, among them the President of the Central Bank of the Argentine Republic, the Secretary of Commerce, the Federal Revenue Administrator and the General Director of Customs, its concern regarding the impact on international trade, fearing that it will seriously affect “the performance and competitiveness of the companies and, therefore, the possibility of genuine foreign currency income”.
In the statement, published on its website on May 24, Fecacera also mentions that the decision of most shipping lines not to charge more import freight in Argentina “will result in longer delays and higher costs for the cargo and the need for the input supplier to finance the freight”. In the short term, it will cause an interruption in the fluidity of the logistics chain, with the consequent impact on commercial operations, especially for SMEs that “do not have the infrastructure or financial capacity to pay their freight at origin”.
Following in Venezuela’s footsteps
The Central Bank’s decision, effective since May 15, postponed the payment of some US$2 billion in import services and freight. Thus, now that neither import nor export freights can be paid, Argentina is now classified as a ‘dirty port’, just like Venezuela, where freights cannot be paid in local currency, a specification that, worldwide, only applies to the two Latin American countries.
The application of the ‘freight collect’ will be done gradually during the month of June: June 12 for Cabo Akritas and Meridian; June 13 for Seaspan Harrier; June 14 for MV Argentina in Zarate; June 17 for Monte Verde; June 22 for London Trader; and June 23 for MSC.
Among the exports that would be affected by the measure are soybeans, which represent 26.5% of the shipments abroad, and beef, which accounts for 22.3%. The remaining 52.2% is made up of pulses (7.9%), polymers (7.8%), apples, pears and quinces (7.2%), mollusks for human consumption (6.6%), chicken meat (6%), cellulose (5.7%), crustaceans (5.3%) and raw hides and skins (4.8%).