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Port Strike Resumes at Chile’s San Antonio Port

Puerto San Antonio
Puerto San Antonio (file image)

Published Nov 20, 2022 6:57 PM by The Maritime Executive

Industrial action continues at Chile’s San Antonio Port, home to the nation’s largest container terminal. Over the weekend, San Antonio Port operator DP World said that it is experiencing downtime in operations because of a renewed dockworkers’ strike, which restarted on November 15.

Due to the labor action, seven ships have had to divert, and a car carrier and a container ship were forced to set sail without completing unloading. Hapag Lloyd’s containership Santos Express has also been delayed at the port.

“Saturday marked the fourth day of the illegal strike that has paralyzed our port terminal. This imply that our workers have lost more than 5,000 work shifts. This is an irrecoverable loss of more than $32,000 per day,” said DP World San Antonio.

Since October, over 6,500 members of Chile’s Union Portuaria have been agitating for better pay amidst rising inflation. The workers have also demanded creation of a special pension system for port employees.

The demands culminated in a 48-hour walkout ending on October 28. This affected the 23 ports throughout Chile where the port union is present.

However, the dispute is yet to be resolved, and port workers at San Antonio resumed the strike last week.

A meeting held Friday between DP World and union leaders failed to resolve workers’ concerns. DP World, which posted a record first-half EBITDA of $2.4 billion in August, said that it is not in a position to give an additional bonus.

“This strike is causing serious damage to the entire logistics system. In October, we had a 35 percent drop in TEUs and the average for the last three months in San Antonio is down 25 percent. These repeated strikes put at risk our business contracts,” added DP World San Antonio.

San Antonio Port is Chile’s largest container port with a capacity of more than one million TEU. DP World took over its control in 2019.