Brazil truck strike diminishes; Paranagua soy stocks running low

martes 3 de marzo de 2015 10:59 GYT

By Caroline Stauffer and Gustavo Bonato

SAO PAULO, March 3 (Reuters) - Some truck drivers in Brazil continued blocking roads on Tuesday, slowing grains deliveries to southern ports, even as adherence to the strike diminished and a key highway in top soy state Mato Grosso opened.

Nationwide, there were 18 roadblocks over rising freight costs by the end of the day on Monday, well below peaks of more than 100 a week ago, federal highway police said.

With the two-week-old protests concentrated in the south, however, the situation at No. 2 soy exporting port Paranagua remained critical, a spokesman said.

On Monday just over 700 trucks arrived at the port, less than half the normal amount for this time of the year. With stocks running out, the port can only guarantee exports of soybeans and soymeal through Wednesday, the spokesman said.

In the state of Rio Grande do Sul, where protests have turned violent, police arrested 20 people on Monday and 11 roadblocks remained on Tuesday, local highway police said.

Seventy percent of operations at the Rio Grande port were affected by the strike, a spokesman said. The port plans to finish an analysis of grains stocks by Thursday and was not at risk of running out before then, he added.

The BR-163 highway, a key soybean corridor in the center-west state of Mato Grosso, was completely clear for the first time since protests ignited on Feb. 17, highway operator Rota do Oeste said on Tuesday.

Truckers in the state said protests had paused temporarily for government negotiations.   Continuación...