Argentina Updates. January 2023.
Updated: Mar 14
Following there is a list as brief and descriptive as possible of the trends we are observing lately.
International Freight Wise:
Regarding AIR FREIGHT OPTIONS, as the economy in our country is going through a very deep crisis, there are fewer options for international carriers. In the last 2 years 15 international airlines discontinued operations in Argentina and left the country. Nevertheless, the air freight rates are slightly cheaper than during pandemic times.
Regarding SEA FREIGHT RATES we see a trend to maintain the prices. They stopped going up. Most of them remain the same and only very few traffic lanes have experienced a decrease. (i.e: Veracruz has become a slightly cheaper traffic lane).
FREQUENCY OF INTERNATIONAL FREIGHTS: the frequencies are decreasing. The options of carriers are fewer. It is extremely common to get notices from SSLines informing that vessels will omit the port of Buenos Aires. Consequently, the imports loaded on those vessels are delayed in their arrival and the departure of the exportations are delayed as well, impacting the export port charges severely.
It is more frequent lately to get a suspicious image when containers are exiting or entering the port terminals. When the scanner shows a dubious image, customs will detain the container and order a very detailed inspection (a second one, much more detailed and in front of customs police) at the port terminal facilities. If that happens, the port terminal issues an invoice which triggers additional charges that are very high and are additional to the usual port charges. This happens seldomly but if it happens, the additional charges may vary from USD 2000 to USD 7000.- We see that this happens more often with LCLs than FCLs.
PORT TERMINALS IN ARGENTINA have collapsed. They have extremely long queues of trucks to enter and exit. They operate by providing turns on websites to enter or retrieving cargo. The turns are not enough to cover the demand. The scarcity of turns impacts the timing for both imports and exports. In exports we must retrieve the empty container to load the move and then send the container back (this time fully loaded) to get it shipped. If the terminal does not respect the turn, which happens constantly, the planning we made for the logistics of that move is affected and must be replanned. Export port charges increase. (We always provide all back ups of invoices paid for all our partners). In imports, we emphasize to our partners to send containers with at least 15 days free of charge. If they send the shipments from origin with only 7 days as usual, that is not enough to get a turn to pick up the container and avoid further charges.
DECLARED WEIGHT OF CONTAINERS ON THE BL: it is extremely important to get the BLs with the correct weight. All shipments are weighed in Argentina. If the scale of the port terminal in question finds a difference between what is declared in the BL and the real weight, they stop the shipment and apply high fines while triggering a more expensive customs inspection (for incoming shipments).
CUSTOMS INSPECTIONS for both outgoing or incoming shipments are MANDATORY and exhaustive. Once the documentary part of the clearance is approved (which takes approx 2 weeks), customs assign a date and time for the inspection.
The turns to get the shipments inspected are taking more time to be obtained due to shortage of personnel and anti-narcotic dog brigades.
There are many challenges nowadays to operate in our country although that is not new to us nor to the transferees moving to and from Argentina.
It is a crucial part of the job to manage the expectations of the transferees and maintaining them fully informed throughout the processes.
However, we see that in many cases the estimated totals for port charges (exports and imports) are getting higher.
That is why we encourage our partners in the international market to educate the corporate clients on what to expect.
We also stress the importance of reporting on those charges with all backups and full transparency. We inform in all cases if additional charges may be expected and why.
To finalize, I want to reinforce the great accomplishment we achieve on getting an extremely high level of full satisfaction from the users of our services. That is vital for our partners while servicing their corporate clients.
By Patricia Fluck, MD, Transpack Argentina