An ugly spat has broken out among South American nations over the use of the continent’s so-called grain superhighway, the Parana river.
Argentina has started collecting tolls on its portion of the river, much to the chagrin of other users of the key dry bulk waterway – Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia and Uruguay.
Argentina went so far as to detain a barge over the weekend belonging to Paraguay’s Mercurio Group over its failure to pay the fees.
The 4,880 km waterway which flows out at Buenos Aires is one of the most important grain export channels in the world. It is South America’s second-largest river behind only the Amazon.
Paraguay has said it will go to the Mercosur trade bloc Permanent Review Court to resolve the dispute as the river is responsible for 80% of the landlocked country’s overseas trade.
The transit fee of $1.47 per metric ton was introduced at the start of the year and comes as Argentina faces severe economic difficulties.