As a result of the discomfort caused by the increase in the price of diesel since last January 1, the Minister of Transportation, Guillermo Reyes, and representatives of transporter and cargo unions will meet tomorrow Thursday to seek agreements on this issue.

As explained by Arnulfo Cuervo Aguilera, vice president of the Federation of Cargo Transport Entrepreneurs (Fedetranscarga), the purpose is to propose that the increase that occurred in the cost of this fuel, which is coming, be revalued ”tied up with tax reform and the damage done to the increase in the minimum wage because prices are going to skyrocket.»

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The problem is not with Fedetranscarga or with the cargo transport sector, but with the country. Rising freight and fuel affects us all

In addition, that the price will remain without adjustments, at least, during 2023. «With the tax reform, the Government has already obtained 20 trillion pesos, what need does it have to continue pressing the price increase to increase inflation and increase inequality? «, he added.

Another request that will be made is that cargo carriers also apply the 50 percent discount for the acquisition of Compulsory Traffic Accident Insurance (Soat) because they were excluded with the promise that the ACPM would not increase in price until June 2023.

Although the Fedetranscarga initiative emerged, the idea is that more unions can join this conversation that will take place at 11:00 in the morning because «the problem is not Fedetranscarga or the cargo transport sector but the country. Rising freight and fuel affects us all«.

The origin of the discord

The anger of the transporters arose because President Gustavo Petro had promised that the price of diesel would be frozen until June of this year, however, by January announced an average increase of 57 pesos. The gallon was costing 9,065 pesos -taking into account the 13 main cities of Colombia- after spending five months without any variation.

According to the Ministry of Transport, this adjustment is due exclusively to the application of the annual update of some parameters in the price structure due to the effect of inflation in 2022. In addition, it does not constitute a modification of the tariff structure of this fuel, nor the removal of any subsidy, nor a change in the methodology for calculating the price.

For Arnulfo Cuervo, there is no justification for this increase, which will make Truck operating costs go up even more.because up to 45 percent of them are related to the payment of fuel.

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Freight has warned more than 30 percent, on average, due to the devaluation of the peso, high interest rates and mobility restrictions

«Every time the price of fuel goes up, the freight increases and when the freight goes up, the products transported also increase in price. This has a negative impact on inflation. because all things are going to go up,» he said.

In addition to the increase in costs that this measure represents, according to the executive president of Colfecar, Nidia Hernández, the union is also concerned that freight rates have increased by more than 30 percent, on average, due to the devaluation of the peso, high interest rates and the mobility restrictions that cargo vehicles have on certain days or due to blockades on the roads.

«We have calculated that a cargo vehicle is wasting four months a year, that significantly impacts productivity. In addition, in January we are going to assume a new minimum wage and the increase in tolls, especially those of the ANI, which do not increase the percentage of inflation but more because it depends on contracts that have been signed in previous years», assured Nidia Hernandez.

Both Fedetranscarga and Colfecar stated that the way out of this problem will be dialogue, since at no time have they contemplated making use of the routes in fact (stoppages).

A complex outlook for 2023

The vice president of Fedetranscarga also assured that 2023 will be a difficult year for the sector due to the slowdown in the economy. It is estimated that the available load will be lower, and when this happens, there will be an excess of free trucksfreight rates will decrease and costs will increase.

“Surely, in the freight forwarding guild many will be bankrupt in 2023 because we got into a modernization plan starting in 2019, we bought mules that today are worth 1,000 million pesos, the monthly installments are 20 million pesos and a mule currently produces 10 million pesos,» he said.