Colombian truckers decided to continue their two-week strike after talks with the vice president on Tuesday about maintaining fixed freight rates led to no immediate results.
Vice President Angelino Garzon said he will meet with President Juan Manuel Santos on Wednesday to discuss a compromise proposed by the truckers. In the meantime, the truckers will continue to strike and block of some of the main roads in Bogota.
Garzon told the press nothing about the content of the truckers’ proposal, but reiterated that the government will not reverse the elimination of fixed freight rates, which was the main reason the national truckers association called the strike.
Transport Minister German Cardona threatened truckers that police may intervene if the blocking of Bogota roads continues.
Meanwhile, exporters are worried the strike will seriously hurt business.
“Last week, we managed to move some coffee from Huila and Santander [departments] to the port of Cartagena but this week things worsened,” a trader at SKN Caribecafe, one of Colombia’s largest coffee exporters, told Reuters.
“All coffee should have been dispatched already to the port and the majority of beans are in our local mill plants … this has a high cost for us, because our clients have contracts with roasters and if the coffee does not get there, the roaster fines our client, who consequently may fine us.”
Colombian bean exporters say the walkout will begin to affect quality if it lasts three more weeks.
Garzon or Santos are expected to respond to the truckers’ proposal on Wednesday.