Many truckers in Puerto Rico remain on strike Thursday, for the second day in a row, causing disruptions in the island's supply chain for goods, as well as traffic jams on roads and highways.
The controversy stems from new proposed rates and to whom they should apply.
The Financial Oversight and Management Board (FOMB), which oversees the island's fiscal dealings, issued the following statement:
Over the past several months the Oversight Board has been working, and will continue to work, cooperatively with the Transportation and Public Services Bureau (NTSP), representatives for Puerto Rico’s truckers, and the business community to find a solution to the issues around shipping rates and their implications for the lives of every Puerto Rican and the Puerto Rico economy. These issues include the proposed regulation to raise shipping rates and applying these shipping rates to new segments of the economy, including private contracts.
The Oversight Board has met with several representatives of the trucking industry, including Rolando Emmanuelli Jiménez, the legal representative for Frente Amplio de Camioneros, as well as Camioneros Unidos de Puerto Rico. However, Mr. Emmanuelli told the Oversight Board during the meeting in April that on behalf of Frente Amplio de Camioneros he was unwilling to engage on the issue of shipping rates, the proposed regulation, or updating the Fiscal Plan to take into consideration his clients’ concerns.
The Oversight Board continued to correspond with Mr. Emmanuelli in writing until May, and the Oversight Board conveyed that it understood and respected Frente Amplio de Camioneros’ decision not to participate in this dialogue. The dialogue with other shipping representatives led to an agreement that prevented a strike until the Oversight Board’s review of the proposed regulation is completed and an economic analysis was completed. The Oversight Board hopes that Frente Amplio will also desist from further disruptions to the lives of the people of Puerto Rico and participate in an amicable solution to the issue of shipping rates.
The Oversight Board has been reviewing the proposed regulation, as required under PROMESA. The NTSP initially submitted the proposed regulation to the Oversight Board on June 11, 2021. The NTSP provided additional materials, at the Oversight Board’s request, on July 20, 2021. Based on its analysis of the proposed regulation and the NTSP’s materials, the Oversight Board informed the NTSP on July 20 that the adoption of the proposed regulation was not in compliance with the Commonwealth’s Fiscal Plan.