Argentine transport workers said Tuesday that between 1,800 and 2,000 trucks were forming two-day long queues on the Argentine side of Paso Cristo Redentor, the most important border crossing with Chile, due to anti-Covid tests requested by the Chilean authorities. 18).
“At some point, the supply network will be cut. It’s not a funnel, it’s a plug. Practically, the driveway is closed,” Daniel Gallart of the Mendoza Truck Owners Association told AFP.
The situation at the border crossing in front of the province of Mendoza, in the Cordillera de los Andes, began 48 hours ago, when Chile tightened its health controls on Argentine drivers, the Argentine Federation of Commercial Entities of the Autotransport de Cargas de Argentina said. a permit.
“We are talking about 2,000 or 1,800 trucks. They come from all over Mercosur. According to traffic statistics, 50% are Argentines, 30% are Brazilians and the rest are from other countries,” Gallart said.
Chile’s transport union has called for more service stations to be enabled now that stricter controls are back. “We are not questioning a country’s sovereign action, but the consequences that this decision causes. We are not against driver testing, but this should be agile,” he added in a statement.
The delays represent multimillion-dollar losses to the country’s international trade through Pacific ports, when global logistics are already affected by the pandemic, according to truck drivers, who have requested official intervention from the State Department.
About 900 Argentine trucks cross the Cristo Redentor Pass daily from the Argentine province of Mendoza, 1,050 kilometers west of Buenos Aires. In 2018, before the pandemic, more than 580,000 trucks crossed the Argentine-Chilean border there, according to a recent binational study.
Countries are progressing with their COVID-19 vaccination plans and Chile has already decided to start implementing a fourth dose. 86.1% of 45 million Argentines had received one dose, 75.2% two and 21.4% had already taken a booster dose.
But Argentina is currently experiencing a wave of cases of the omicron variant, with 120,000 infections and about 200 deaths per day.
Chilean sources emphasized that the delay could be exacerbated by the transit of Argentine tourists heading to Chile, who are also obligated to comply with health requirements.
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