Argentine government toughens stance on Buenos Aires Port transfer

Argentina’s Transport Minister, Guillermo Dietrich, last week seemed to double down on the national administration’s decision not to transfer the jurisdiction over the Buenos Aires Port to the City of Buenos Aires.

During a press conference at the Argentine Engineering Centre (CAI), local media asked him why the government of President Mauricio Macri was failing to abide by Law 24,093 of 1992, which ordered the transfer of national ports to their respective provinces and the City of Buenos Aires.

He replied: “Because it is under trusteeship. And it continues to have open accounts payable. There is a lot of issues that must be resolved. We are working on that.”

Dietrich, who gave long answers to several other questions from the audience, failed to elaborate on the Buenos Aires Port issue.

The Buenos Aires City Port is the only one that remains under national jurisdiction in Argentina dating back to 1992, when then president Carlos Menem, partially vetoed Law 24,093 to keep the port within federal domain, arguing that, at the time, the mayor of Buenos Aires was personally appointed by the president and that, as a consequence, City Hall was just a decentralized entity within the federal government sphere.

In 1994, however, constitutional reform led to the autonomy of Buenos Aires and since then different City administrations have been demanding — unsuccessfully — that the nation transfer the jurisdiction of the port to the City.

Dietrich also said that Argentina — which accounts for 11 percent of the world’s grain and oilseed exports — has a port capacity well above its needs for several years to come but that one of the leading problems regarding port efficiency was access routes.

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