Global Traders Hit By COVID-19 in Argentina
Global soy leader Argentina has reported its first cases of COVID-19 at port soybean terminals, despite a strict lockdown in place since March. COFCO stopped work at an oilseed crushing plant and port facility after 12 employees tested positive, while Bunge halted operations at their nearby facility after one case was reported. COFCO and Bunge were both put in the position of having to idle port terminals and soybean crush plants on the Parana River north of Rosario - the Argentinean soy hub for shipping soy meal for livestock feed, cooking oil, and biofuel. Domestic shipper Vicentin SAIC also had an employee test positive, disrupting operations.
COFCO’s Timbues plant could be shut for a week, and the company is redirecting cargoes to its terminal in Puerto General San Martin and facilities run by other companies. Bunge has stopped work at its facility in Puerto General San Martin, and is also redirecting loads to other terminals.
President Alberto Fernandez has implemented strict protocols that have begun to soften in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area, even though the virus curve remains the same. Sixty workers from port facilities around Rosario are currently in self-isolation, and companies are working to strengthen their protocols as the virus spreads through nearby communities.