Brazil’s truckers begin strike; limited impact so far

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazil’s trucking union yesterday started a 72-hour strike that has slowed traffic in the Sao Paulo state region and might delay the movement of record soy, corn and sugar crops to ports, although it is unlikely to stop exports entirely.

An official with the MUBC trucking union told Reuters that the strike had started at 6 am local time (0900 GMT), but had no information about its magnitude or whether it had nationwide adherence.

Television images early yesterday showed hundreds of trucks lining two highways leading to Sao Paulo, the country’s biggest city.

MUBC’s demands include a subsidy for diesel fuel, exemption on highway toll payments for drivers and the creation of a new federal government department of cargo transportation.

The union last went on strike for a week in July 2012, disrupting the flow of goods in the country’s heavily populated southeast region. However, the strike did not affect the export of bulk commodities.

Brazil is moving the last of a record soybean harvest to its ports, and shipments of sugar and corn are picking up. Analysts say it would take more than a few days of stopping shipments on Brazil’s roads to slow exports as most exporting companies keep grains in private storage units to minimise the effect of interruptions in ground transport.

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