Chile riots: “Very little volume of salmon is being able to be shipped to the US”

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Chile is entering its fifth days of demonstrations, as scenes of violence and civil unrest are shown in the capital and around the country. BluRiver CEO says it is affecting all operations.

Last week, when the government decided to raise the price of the Metro ticket in its capital, Santiago, little did they know that it would unleash nearly a full week of civil unrest.

Curfews, seen for the first time since Augusto Pinochet was dictator, have been placed. And despite the fare being reversed and the country’s President Sebastián Piñera saying that “problems have accumulated for many decades” and that “different governments were not able to recognize this situation in all its magnitude”, it still rolls on.

SalmonBusiness reported yesterday on 33 segundos’ footage which showed thousands of people marching yesterday in the salmon farming region of Puerto Montt, Los Lagos, causing traffic stoppages and delays to traffic.

According to its latest live reporting, this is still the case, which a large but peaceful rally, waving flags and lighting flares at Provincial Government of Llanquihue building, Puerto Montt, Los Lagos. Footage of armed police has also been uploaded to Twitter.

SalmonBusiness asked BluGlacier CEO Sebastian Goycoolea how the unrest was affecting his operations. A US sales joint venture between salmon farmers Blumar and Productos del Mar Ventisqueros – producing more than 14,000 tonnes of farmed Atlantic salmon annually. The company is also one of Chile’s three largest salmon importers to the U.S. by volume.

Goycoolea explained that the entire operation was working at only 40%.

“Yes, is very sad to see what is going on in Chile. Unfortunately, this situation is affecting the normal operations of the processing plant, the local logistics and the shipments going out of the country. So basically we are working at less than 40% of the capacity, so the very little volume of salmon is being able to be shipped to the US”.

And what about truck cargos?

“I’m not completely aware of the affection of the Brazilian export but I’m sure they are affected too,” said Goycoolea.

BluGlacier CEO Sebastian Goycoolea. PHOTO: LinkedIn

Mowi Chile said that they had implemented a contingency plan to cushion the blow of delays.

“The ongoing situation in the country has not had any major implications for Mowi Chile, but we are monitoring the situation closely with regards to the safety of our employees. We have implemented a contingency plan to make sure all sites can operate and have resumed processing today after two days of half journey work,” a spokesperson from Mowi Chile emailed SalmonBusiness.

The US, Chile’s biggest customer, imported 156.3 thousand tonnes of salmon in 2018.