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Argentine truck drivers stranded at Chilean border by slow Covid testing

Thousands of truckers have been stuck at the Chilean border this week as the country faces huge transport delay crisis.

More than 3,000 trucks have been stranded at the customs checkpoint in Mendoza since 21 January, according to the Argentinean Federation of Business Entities for Cargo Transport (FADEEAC).

The long wait, due to snaking queues as drivers wait for Covid tests, is resulting in refrigerator units inside trucks struggling to keep onboard cargo cold.

New Chilean entry protocols to the country demand all drivers test negative for coronavirus.

“This is becoming a real problem,” truck driver Junior Cesar, told Reuters. “The engines are running day and night and they’re starting to fail and affect the cargo.”

Frustrated drivers, some of which have been stranded for as long as two weeks, have been cooking next to their trucks, sharing food and showering using buckets of water.

A similar problem has also occurred at Chile’s northern border in the Tambo Quemado mountain pass, where drivers from Bolivia too face long waits in line for COVID-19 testing.

The FADEEAC has asked Argentina’s foreign ministry to intervene to minimise further economic losses.

According to the federation, around US$700 is currently being lost per day.

The drinks business has reached out to wine producers on both sides of the border to find out how the transport crisis is impacting the sector.


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