The locks that have been presented in recent weeks in different departments of the country due to social protests are increasing the time and cost of moving cargo from one place to another which, ultimately, according to transporters, could be transferred to the price of the products, in the middle of a which reached 13.12 percent last yearthe highest in 23 years.

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Only in January the Colombian Federation of Cargo Carriers by Road (Colfecar) it counted up to 81 blockades in 20 departments of the country. Its president, Nidia Hernández, says that the trips that a cargo vehicle made in a couple of days are now made in more than a week, which she is automatically discovering as freight rates rise.

“The blockades by dissatisfied communities on national roads are being the main bottleneck for cargo transportation. It is with concern that we see that they are becoming more frequent and last longer, improving the productivity of cargo vehicles, food security and the connectivity of Colombians,» said the union leader.

For this reason, from Colfecar they ask the Government to define a protocol so that the dialogue commissions arrive more quickly at the blocking points and be able to solve each case as soon as possible.

It must be remembered that 98 percent of the country’s cargo is mobilized by road, from raw materials to industry, family basket products, medicines, among other basic elements for the development of daily activities of all Colombians.

Alfonso Medrano, president of the Colombian Truck Drivers Association, He says that the blockades are hurting the owners and also the drivers of the freight vehicles.

“If a driver is parked for several days, he is left without money and without food. Also, if you carry perishable food, it is damaged and does not reach its destination. And who pays the trucker? This situation is going to generate a crisis in the sector, ”he warned.

In addition, he said that they promised to have a meeting next Monday with different portfolios such as the Interior or Defense, as well as representatives of the Military Forces to analyze the situation.

More than 1,555 hours lost in a single month

Colfecar carried out an x-ray in which it ended only the blockades that occurred on the roads in January due to the demonstrations. According to his calculations, they were 81 blockades in which cargo vehicles lost up to 1,555 hours.

With 19 blocks, Santander was the department with the most incidents. This currently presents the difficulties to transport all kinds of merchandise. One of the reasons is that in Carmen and San Vicente de Chucurí they want to carry out an open-pit coal project and the license has already been granted to the Colcco mining company.

La Guajira appears with 18 blockades in January due to community protests demanding better roads due to poor condition and pressure from Wayúu communities due to different problems that occur in the department.

In departments such as Cesar, Córdoba, Bolívar and Antioquia, another 5 were registered; and in Magdalena, Norte de Santander, Cundinamarca and Huila 3.

There were also two cases of blockades due to protests in both Valle del Cauca and Cauca; and an affectation was recorded in Sucre, Chocó, Risaralda, Caldas, Casanare, Meta, Nariño and Putumayo.

Infographic of the blockades due to demonstrations in Colombia in January 2023.

How much are the losses?

Although the union of road freight transporters has not yet accounted for the losses that this generates, it says that they are «millionaires» and that these social protests add to the number of inconveniences that will already progress, harming their mobility, such as the closures in the roads due to landslides, construction works or restrictions on holidays.

“In a single day we managed to have 17 blockades simultaneously. The foregoing obliges us to send a message with a sense of urgency so that the Ministry of the Interior can design a strategy that allows for a timely and agile solution to these new blockades,» said the union leader.

Petition to the Government

In this situation, Colfecar He asked the government to define a protocol so that the dialogue commissions arrive more quickly at the blocking points. In addition, he requested greater accompaniment from the public force to avoid attacks on drivers, acts of vandalism, looting and theft, as occurred in the blockade of Bajo Cauca in Antioquia.

«For the transporters, it is necessary that the mayors and governors be accountable since many requests from the populations are the responsibility of the local authorities and not of the national government,» says the union.

For example, given that at the moment the Sahagún sector in Córdoba has already completed more than 190 hours of blockade in the El Viajano sector, with no solution in sight to the protesters’ claims.

In Córdoba there were blockades of up to 291 hours, in La Guajira of 485 hours and in Santander with 445 hours

In addition, the union reiterates that in some departments the blockades lasted many hours and that cost overruns are arising in the logistics chain, both to supply the local land and to export.

For example, in Córdoba there were blockades of up to 291 hours, in La Guajira of 485 hours and in Santander with 445 hours.

Finally, the president of Colfecar hopes that with the support of the Ministries of the Interior, Transport, Commerce and Defense, progress will be made in defining measures aimed at solving this problem that not only affects road freight transporters, but also the peasants whose crops rot in the Vehicles, the poultry, pork and tourism sectors are also being severely affected.