The control of prices that the Government tries to exert in a part of the logistics chain threatens to unleash a bigger problem: the closing of Guayaquil’s container depots.
And in the city the ports do not have the capacity to store so many units. Only Contecon, last year mobilized 64,418 containers of 20 feet and 203,366 of 40 feet and represents only 40.3% of the total.
These private companies maintain a legal battle with a group of exporters and with the Ministry of Transportation (MTOP), which prohibited them from charging for a service they provide and that has caused them to think about closing because they cannot recover the investments or maintain an operational “Business” that is no longer profitable. There are nine companies.
Repcontver, RFC (Road Feeder Services), Depconsa, Farbem, Tercon Container Terminals, Aretina, Tasesa Workshops and Services, Blasti and Opacific were obliged by the Municipality to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (24/7) and to make investments to avoid congestion in the surroundings. However, the MTOP prevents them from charging.
Prior to the validity of the aforementioned ordinance, the operation agreed with the shipping companies and customers was carried out from 08:00 to 17:00 from Monday to Friday.
“With the increase in the hours and days of care we were forced to recalculate and charge the cost overrun of the operation, which has been set between 35 and 50 dollars -according to the size and costs of each deposit-, a value that It must be paid additionally to the one charged by the shipping company, which was not provided for. In Peru and Chile this cost is between $ 80 and $ 150.
And furthermore, due to “pressure from exporters”, they have been sent to officials of the Internal Revenue Service (SRI) of the Ministry of Labor and since last week to the Superintendence of Power Market Control.
Jorge Luis Albornoz, expert in law and defender of courtyards, exposes his vision with example: “It is as if they were required to the garages of the city to put a roof, security cameras, not to leave the key to move the cars to be able to locate them in the spaces, work 24/7 (with the same standards of the Malecón), put more guards, and that they are not allowed to raise the rate “. They simply close.
“The resolution of the Deputy Minister of Transportation Management is a wrong message for the private sector, which has been calling for guarantees for the realization of economic activities that reinvigorate the country’s development, with the growth of business and create jobs “Say the companies.
The “unconstitutional interference constitutes a financial obstacle to implement the requirements of the ordinance of the Municipality, relevant to empty container deposits and carriers, since on the one hand they are related to the use of land and, on the other, to traffic In the canton. This ordinance was approved fulfilling the constitutional and legal powers of the decentralized autonomous governments “.
But other entities do not allow to charge, although they do not have attributions for it.
The statute of the ministry, says Albornoz, regulates maritime and fluvial transportation and confers the attribution to issue tariff policies for tolls, fees and charges to be charged for the use of the intermodal and multimodal transportation system infrastructure. “But nowhere in this statute can it be inferred that empty container storage services, provided by private companies, are subject to regulation by the ministry.”
The exporters have complained because the collection of container withdrawal, arguing that this affects their competitiveness and who should pay are the shipping lines.
On the 11th of this month there will be a new hearing in the Southern Judicial Unit of the Family, Women, Children and Adolescents, for a challenge to the container depots.
Guilds of banana growers, shrimpers and others point out that the collection is illegal because it affects the competitiveness of their exports with their competitors in the world. They pressured the authorities to control the prices charged by the courtyards.
The tariff was accepted and has been paid by the customers, “under the understanding that the process of receiving and delivering the containers was shortened with the shift system, which results in a saving for the operation of the exporter, since it was eliminated the cost of intermediate deposits. (I)