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Chile’s Commodity Exports at Risk of Delay Due to Port Workers’ Strike

Port Workers’ Strike Could Delay Chile’s Commodity Exports

Commodity exports from Chile, a significant producer of copper and lithium, face potential delays due to a workers’ strike that commenced early Thursday, disrupting the loading and unloading of vessels.

According to Bloomberg, members of the UPC and FTPC trade unions initiated a 24-hour strike on Thursday morning local time.

Albatrans International Freight Forwarders, in a LinkedIn post on Wednesday, stated, “The strike is intended to draw the attention of the government regarding the union’s demands related to decarbonization and unemployment in ports.”

While specific details regarding the impacted ports remain awaited, there’s a possibility that vessel operations and container movements at terminals might be affected by the work stoppage.

The strike actions have particularly impacted the port of Ventanas, a crucial hub in central Chile. Additionally, port workers have obstructed roads near the Port of Valparaiso, the country’s largest port and the second-largest in terms of container handling, following San Antonio.

Chile's Commodity Exports at Risk of Delay Due to Port Workers' Strike

Chile’s Commodity Exports at Risk of Delay Due to Port Workers’ Strike (Credits: Super News)

Reports from Chilean media indicate protests by port workers in the town of Talcahuano as well.

While workers are scheduled to resume work on Friday, unions have cautioned that the 24-hour strike serves as a warning, hinting at potential further industrial actions. Dissatisfaction among workers stems from recent layoffs at coal-handling terminals and a demand for enhanced safety conditions at work.

Despite the disruptions, major commodity producers in Chile have yet to report any significant impacts on their operations.

Chile holds the distinction of being the world’s largest copper producer, the second-largest lithium producer, and a significant exporter of both commodities, which are pivotal for the ongoing energy transition.

In recent developments, India has shown keen interest in acquiring lithium and copper assets overseas, leading to a delegation being sent to explore such resources in Chile. Notably, India has already inked agreements with Chile’s neighboring country, Argentina, also a significant lithium producer. The Lithium Triangle, encompassing Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia, boasts substantial resources in this regard, situated within the lithium-rich region of the Andes.

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