The fluvial rate that Argentina wants to charge violates a regional agreement
The National Foreign Ministry is proposing that Argentina suspend the implementation of a toll for vessels that transit the section of the Paraná River between Confluencia and the Río de la Plata. The application of this rate is in open violation of the Santa Cruz de la Sierra Agreement, according to which Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay committed to developing the river artery and creating the necessary conditions to achieve the widest freedom of transit, transportation of people and goods and free navigation day and night, 365 days a year.
In the same document it was determined that no tax, levy, tribute or duty on transportation, vessels or their cargoes may be established. But now, unilaterally and without consultation, Argentina intends to charge a fee of 1.47 dollars per net registered ton to vessels transiting from Confluencia. To get an idea of what this means in hard cash, some of the Paraguayan-flagged barge trains can carry up to 40,000 tons of cargo. But considering an average of 20,000, the tax that Argentina wants to impose means adding an extra cost of almost US$ 30,000 for each formation. According to an analysis commissioned by the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC), some 30 million tons of cargo pass through the Paraguay-Paraná Waterway annually, so that Argentina would pocket, with that rate alone, US$ 45 million, which the shipowners rivers will transfer to the importers and these, naturally, to the consumer.
The maintenance for the navigability of successive course rivers has very precise regulations and methodologies. It is acceptable that the costs of conditioning the logistics channels be shared by the users, since the fluidity of the supply of consumer goods and supplies for production and industry depends on it. But any decision taken in this regard must have the agreement of all the parties that make up the whole, in this case, the countries that make up the Paraguay-Paraná Waterway, as well as vessels of other flags. Something that sounds logical but not for Argentines who are too often used to erasing with their elbow what they signed with their hand.
Suspend the rate? No, delete it.