LA PAZ – Bolivia state transport company ASP-B demanded that the private firm that manages the Chilean port of Arica pay compensations for the loading and unloading delays it has caused for Bolivian trucking companies.
Speaking at a press conference in La Paz, ASP-B director David Sanchez said that several decisions made by the Chilean firm TPA had caused “desperation” among Bolivian truckers because of the delays.
The frustration of truckers from landlocked Bolivia are due to the fact that they have waited up to five days to carry out loading and unloading operations in Arica, while this waiting period was previously three days, Sanchez said.
He said TPA claimed that rough waters forced it to close the port for 10 days.
In addition, according to Sanchez, a change in the software used by TPA shut down loading and unloading operations for another two days.
Because of the delays, Sanchez demanded that compensations be paid to Bolivian truckers.
The official acknowledged that loading and unloading operations had started to return to normal, with 200 trucks passing through every day, yet he insisted on the need to compensate “damages and losses.”
“The delays are due to TPA’s decisions,” he said, adding that the Bolivian Foreign Ministry had decided to present a formal claim against Chile.
Some 40 ASP-B officials work in the port of Arica, where 80 percent of the goods that are loaded are Bolivian, in accordance with a 1904 treaty, Sanchez said.
The treaty was signed 25 years after Bolivia lost its Pacific coastline in a war against Chile.
Sanchez said that the Chilean firm had not carried out the required investments to meet Bolivia’s growing shipping needs.
In this context, according to Sanchez, Bolivian goods have had to be diverted to the Chilean port of Iquique, some 300 km (190 mi) south of Arica.