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Maritime body says no ban on entry of freight transport in Argentina

New Delhi — The various measures taken by the Argentinian government to contain the spread of COVID-19 has provisions that exempt international freight transport operations from the prohibition of entry and compliance with the mandatory isolation of all the people involved in transfer of goods, Centro de Navegacion said in a statement, allaying fears of a disruption to trade.

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Centro de Navegacion is a non-profit entity representing the interests of maritime transport in Argentinian waters and ports.

The agency said it wants to inform its members that there are no foundations to justify the cessation of operations of the Argentine foreign trade.

However, ship crew members must be asymptomatic and comply with the recommendations established by the health authority, the statement said.

Confusion regarding various measures taken at ports in Argentina in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused inconvenience to exporters over the last two days.

There were reports that in some ports, namely San Lorenzo and Bahia Blanca, sanitary authorities are not granting 'free pratique' as they seek clarification from government authorities on steps to be followed.

Free pratique is a certificate from the port health authorities that says the ship is without infectious disease or plague on board and therefore permitted to enter port and allow people to board and disembark.

The issue of free pratique was temporarily suspended for some time at Necochea port on Monday, a shipping agency based in Argentina said.

The Argentinian government has restricted entry to all non-resident foreigners for 30 days. Crewmembers are obliged to stay onboard and cannot go ashore at most of ports.

Argentina is the one of the world's leading exporters of grains, oilseeds and related products.