A group of independent truckers calling themselves the National Transport Command has been organizing demonstrations online through Facebook posts, and on Monday began to blockade various roads around the country. The group has however had very little effect on Santos, one of Brazil’s largest gateways.
Brazil is the world’s top exporter of soybeans, coffee, sugar and beef. Brazil’s main cash crop export, soy, will not be affected by the demonstrations. It is now low season for soybean exports, but Brazil is in the process of exporting record volumes of corn.
Brazil’s animal protein association said however that pork and poultry shipments could be disrupted this month with demand from buyers in the Northern increasing ahead of their winter. The sector lost about $184 million due to the roadblocks in February when roads were blocked at more than 100 sites. The federal government is negotiating with truckers to try to avoid a lengthy strike and supply shortages.
Brazil’s main trucking unions are not participating in the strike.
The strikers are protesting against transportation taxes and recent hikes in the price of fuel, but these complaints are not shared by all truck drivers.
Strike leader, Ivar Schmidt, has been warned that the strike will go on for an ‘indeterminate length of time until President Dilma resigns’ and until that time traffic jams will be immense.