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652 - 8/09 - Venezuelan Port Developments - Venezuela
The Association would like to take this opportunity to inform its members of the developing situation regarding the state takeover of major Venezuelan ports. In recent months, the Central Venezuelan government has taken control of all major Ports. This process was started in Maracaibo and Puerto Cabello and in the past couple of weeks has extended to La Guaira. All ports are now managed by a central institution known as Bolivariana de Puertos or “Bolipuertos”.
As well as port operations, the government has also taken control of a number of related functions such as warehousing, machinery and almost certainly stevedoring, although, it is understood that the employees will remain largely the same. The result of such change means that cargo will be received, warehoused and delivered by a single government organisation.
Although it is yet to be seen how much of an effect these changes will have upon each individual port, it is believed that the threat of cargo theft or damage may increase. Operations in Puerto Cabello were interrupted recently for a number of days and, upon resumption delays were noticed, Members should be prepared for such delays and complications when trading in Venezuela, especially during the transition period when things are likely to become very confused.
It is believed that making claims against the institution for robbery, damage etc, will be very difficult. Members should be extremely cautious and take all available precautions. Local agents and correspondents may be able to advise vessels about the current situation prior to arrival.
Source of information:
Loss Prevention Department