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October 4th, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) Costa Rica’s importers and exporters are calling the closure of Route 32 after the collapse of a bridge that crosses the Parismina River on Wednesday a “national emergency.”
Route 32 is the main transit route between the port city of Limon on the country’s Caribbean coast and most of the rest of the country, including the capitol city of San José.
Road authorities are estimating the route may remain closed for five days.
Abel Chaves, Treasurer of the Board of the Chamber of Exporters (Cadexco) said the primary concern is with the shipping of perishable products.
“The entire export sector is currently very concerned with the situation that is taking place on Route 32. The situation is alarming, we see it as a time of crisis,” Chaves said, adding that exporters are unable to get fresh produce to container ships in Limon that are scheduled to depart this weekend.
Chaves said there are “hundreds” of containers carrying bananas, pineapples, cassava, and ornamental plants that are unable to reach the port.
Cadexco does not believe that the alternative road route available is feasible, saying it would require extensive coordination with ship operators as the alternative route available would significantly increase the time required to move products to port (especially those already in transport), as well as an unacceptable increase in costs for exporters.
Jose Manuel Quirce, president of the Costa Rican Chamber of Importers (Crecex) agrees.
“The collapse on Route 32 generates a level of chaos not only for the movement of people but also delays in deliveries and shipments of exported and imported goods. The economic activity of the country is affected whenever a problem occurs on the roads, generating millions in losses,” Quirce said.
Both chambers are asking for an immediate response by the government. “We are knocking on the doors of government because this is an emergency,” Chaves said.