A massive strike and protests by cargo truck drivers on roads across Mexico are planned for Tuesday and Wednesday, according to members of the Mexican Alliance of Carrier Organizations (AMOTAC).
They said the two-day demonstration could include as many as 300,000 truckers and spotlights a host of demands: improved road safety, lower operating costs, a ban on double tractor-trailers, simplified vehicle registration, protection against extortion from authorities, and more.
The strike, scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Central Time on Tuesday, is expected to include blockades along main highways, potentially disrupting both domestic and international freight shipments.
AMOTAC, which said it represents more than 75% of the commercial cargo, tourism, and bus passenger vehicle fleets in the country, aims to keep the demonstrations peaceful, according to a news release announcing the protests.
“We regret the inconvenience and the traffic that could be caused on the country’s highways, but the authorities force us to take these actions due to their lack of interest and commitment to our sector, they have forgotten that through transport we move the merchandise necessary for the development of the industries,” the news release said. “We are a sector that generates jobs, as well as a very important economic benefit for the country.”
Danger from cargo thieves is one of the major issues truck drivers in Mexico face, AMOTAC officials said.
“Every day we suffer from assaults, robberies, and murders from both the carriers and drivers who use the roads, without the National Guard commanders ordering the necessary actions to stop this situation,” Valentin Romero Trujillo, an AMOTAC spokesman, told El Financiero.
According to data from Mexico’s Ministry of Security and Civilian Protection, cargo theft cases totaled 5,470 from January through July, a 10% year-over-year increase. The states with the most reported cases were in the center of the country, including Mexico State, Puebla, Michoacan, San Luis Potosi, and Jalisco.
Jorge Canavati, a principal at J. Canavati & Co., a San Antonio-based freight forwarding company, recently told FreightWaves that road insecurity across Mexico has been a major issue for years.
“Cargo theft is a big problem. The violence is a big problem,” Canavati said. “The insurance rates for cargo are just going up and up and up.”
Other major demands include reducing the cost of using toll roads in the country and ending abuses and extortion by state and municipal police, AMOTAC officials said.
“The [toll] fees are excessive. We have roads in terrible condition, the roads we have are disgusting and we are paying a very expensive toll that really harms the truck,” Romero Trujillo said.
Romero Trujillo said if the government does not negotiate during the two days of demonstrations, AMOTAC could continue to extend the strike and blockades.