SAO PAULO – Truckers on Thursday continued to block major highways in Brazil despite an agreement signed the day before between cargo vehicle owners’ associations and the government to resolve a protest over fuel-price hikes, police said.
Roadblocks snarled traffic early Thursday on roads in the southern states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Parana, the Federal Highway Police said.
Independent truckers also blocked roads in the southwestern state of Mato Grosso do Sul, according to the government-run Agencia Brasil news agency, while Globo television said protests were continuing in the southeastern states of Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais, which are Brazil’s most populous and regions where supply shortages have occurred in recent days.
The roadblocks launched a week ago by hundreds of truckers to demand a reduction in diesel prices and an increase in compensation for freight haulage have triggered supply shortages in several Brazilian cities.
The protests have continued despite the agreement reached on Wednesday between truckers’ representatives and the Brazilian government.
The president of the CNTA independent truckers’ confederation, Diumar Bueno, said his organization accepted the government’s proposal.
The government pledged to enact a law that includes suspending for 12 months repayment of truck-purchase loans made by state-owned development banks, presidential spokesman Miguel Rossetto said.
He added that state-controlled oil giant Petrobras also has committed to not raising the price of diesel over a six-month period.
Diesel prices have risen because President Dilma Rousseff’s administration has restored a tax on the fuel as part of an effort to balance the budget and preserve Brazil’s investment-grade credit rating.
The presidential spokesman also said the cargo transport associations would be allowed to prepare the table that specifies the amount of compensation they receive for hauling freight.
Under the agreement, the government also will allow certain trucks, including those with empty trailers, to avoid paying highway tolls.
Rossetto, however, said those measures will not take effect until truckers end their roadblocks.