The resolution of the Argentine Ministry of Transport, published this Tuesday in the Official Gazette, aims to « recover the sovereignty of river maritime transport and enhance the services of national ships, » according to that portfolio in a statement.
The measure empowers the Undersecretary of Ports, Waterways and Merchant Marine of Argentina to require Paraguayan ships and shipowners to process a special cargo permit.
The permit must include, among other information, the port of origin and destination, the volume and type of cargo, and the vessels in which it is intended to transport said cargo.
In addition, the Undersecretariat of Ports, Inland Waterways and Merchant Marine is empowered to consult the Argentine shipping chambers about the availability of warehouses on Argentine-flagged ships or those operated by Argentine shipowners to meet the required cargo between the ports indicated in the permit application special cargo.
Once the responses from the Argentine Chambers of Shipping have been received, the government agency may authorize the request, provided that there are no Argentine flag vessels or Argentine shipowners in conditions to carry out the transport in question.
Our country uses the Paraguay and Paraná rivers, the latter with its mouth in the Río de la Plata, as an outlet to the Atlantic for its cargo transportation.
As argued by the Argentine Government, the measure ordered this Tuesday equates the requirements of Argentina with the requirements imposed by Paraguay for the fluvial transport of cargo, « generating the income of foreign currency, the creation of new jobs and the reduction of logistics costs ».
In its statement, the Argentine Ministry of Transportation stated that “for years the Republic of Paraguay has implemented a cargo reservation regime that establishes a preference in favor of ships under its flag to transport export or import merchandise from or to that country, affecting Argentine flag vessels and generating unequal opportunities in participation within the field of maritime and river transport.
« While Argentine cargo could be transported by river vessels under the Argentine or Paraguayan flag under equal conditions, Paraguayan cargo is reserved for vessels of that nationality, resulting in a situation of manifest inequity, » the Argentine authorities asserted.
Argentina pointed out that the measure adopted this Tuesday will be in force during the period of time that Paraguay maintains the restrictive measures on Argentine vessels.