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Truckers strike to cost Brazilian steel industry $1 billion: steel institute

Sao Paulo — The two-week truck-drivers' strike across Brazil and the resulting new minimum freight tariff set by the National Land Transport Agency, ANTT, could bring losses of up to Real 4.4 billion ($1.14 billion) to the Brazilian steel industry, according to the steel institute Aco Brasil.

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Of this total, Real 1.1 billion would be related to the reduction of the blast furnace capacity utilization due to the lack of inputs and stoppages in rolling mills and steelworks, while roadways were blocked. The other Real 3.3 billion would be related to the minimum freight established during the negotiations with truck drivers, which ended up doubling freight costs to the industry.

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After several industry complaints, ANTT announced that is reviewing the current freight-rate table and will shortly announce the new adjustments.

The strike began on May 21 in protest at rising diesel prices, with the truckers demanding government action to stop the harm to their incomes.

Because Brazil's economy is heavily reliant on road transport, the strike has disrupted domestic deliveries of steelmaking raw materials to local producers and of finished steel to domestic buyers, while exports and imports were also backing up.

--Priscilla Antunes,
--Edited by Derek Sands,