The closure of the road between the Pacific port of Buenaventura and the interior of Colombia is stopping the transport of $4 million of cargo per day, economic magazine Dinero reported Tuesday.
This is according to Jairo Herrera, the president of Colombia’s professional organization of truckers, Aserca, who said that 2,000 cargo trucks affiliated with Aserca use that route every day, each truck loaded with $2,000 worth of cargo.
Herrera said “[This] corresponds to $4 million and this is only looking at the transport of cargo, without analyzing the associated activities such as accommodation and restaurants catering to truckers, and truck maintenance.”
The Minister of Transport German Cardona Gutierrez announced the total closure of the route La Linea between Ibague and Calarca due to Sunday’s landslide caused by the rainy season. Minister Cardona is visiting the disaster site Tuesday with a team of engineers and geologists who will analyze the stability of the zone.
Minister Cardona initially said that only after the study by the geologists will the government be able to say how long it will need to repair the road but later added there will be a provisional lane put in place before the weekend, according to newspaper El Pais.
The landslide took place at Kilometer 29 of the La Linea route – which crosses the central mountain range and is an important artery for the entry and exit of goods from the Pacific – in an area known as Los Chorros.
After the collapse of the hillside beneath the road, machinery was moved into position Monday and work began to try to construct a new lane, but in the face of a risk of another landslide the road was completely closed.
A truck driver told Radio Santa Fe that there were three landslides and the path was restricted. He added that it rained heavily and a lot of mud is falling, which raised the warning that new landslide might occur which could completely block the road.
Jaime Sorzano Serrano president of Colombia’s federation of truckers, Colfecar, asked the government for equipment and high-level information technology in order to simulate possible landslides and therefore avoid situations of this type.
“The best thing is to be prepared everyday for situations like that of La Linea. On many occasions there are few people fixing the roads. It is necessary to make machinery available … We propose that there be permanent contingency crews to face this reality, that threatened to worsen every day that the winter rains advances,” said Sorzano Serrano.