Oilseed and grain exports out of Argentina could be disrupted due to ongoing industrial action by workers demanding COVID-19 vaccines.

The country’s maritime and port federation Fempinra had launched a 24-hour strike on 20 May to demand vaccines for its workers, the report said.

Grain receivers’ union Urgara had also announced its own 24-hour strike action as it also demanded Covid-19 vaccines for the union’s workers, AgriCensus said.

The sector was urging the Argentine government to try to find a solution to the issue that is disrupting grain shipments across all grain ports, with the impact heightened by low water levels in key rivers, a source in the grain export segment had told AgriCensus.

“We understand that it is key that all workers can obtain the vaccine but we also need to see that the situation with the low water levels in the Paraná River is critical and the strike is worsening the situation,” the source said.

The unions had held meetings with government authorities but they had they failed to reach a solution to the conflict to date, the source added.

Further action had been announced by the 11 marine and logistics-based trade unions, with a 48-hour strike scheduled for 26 May, AgriCensus wrote.

The ongoing industrial action had paralysed grain shipments at ports in the Rosario hub and also in the Atlantic ports of Quequén and Bahía Blanca, the report said.

Meanwhile, seven grain ships stranded in shallow water in the Port of Rosario were expected to be towed free following the end of a strike by port workers, Reuters reported on 24 May.

Captains of tugboats and other port workers had gone on strike to be classified as essential workers and qualify for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Six of the seven stranded ships were loaded with soya meal, corn and other farm products but had been unable to leave once loaded due to shallow waters, the report added.

Water levels on the Paraná River continued to decline creating shipping challenges for Argentina, Reuters wrote. Dry weather had led to shallowness in the river, which meant ships had to be underloaded to navigate the river.

Meteorologists did not expect the water levels to improve in the short term, according to the report.

To help resolve low water level issues in the Paraná River, Paraguay and Brazil had agreed to release water from the Itaipu dam, Reuters said.