Chilean supermarkets have been running out of fresh meat, salmon processing plants were shutting down, and hospitals became concerned for a lack of oxygen, as striking truckers block roads to protest the high price of fuel in the country.
Strikers resolved to extend their protest, originally scheduled to last 48 hours, leaving grocery stores short of basics, Fernando Alvear, President of the Chilean Supermarkets Association, said recently in an interview.
This could also have had a significant effect on the healthcare industry and further highlights the importance of medical gases in this area, as concerns began to surface of hospitals running out of oxygen if the strike continued. El Mercurio reported the problems on its website and highlighted the medical gases dilemma, citing Rene Le Feuvre, a Manager at industrial and medical gases company Indura SA.
Alvear had commented in an interview, “We’re already having more serious problems in some regions outside Santiago. It gets worse as the hours go by.”
Transport companies will halt work indefinitely to press the government to cut fuel taxes after diesel prices surged 50% this year, while President Michelle Bachelet had announced $1bn in extra subsidies on fuels including diesel.
Wholesale diesel prices leapt 50% this year to $1091 per cubic meter ($4.13 per gallon), according to Chile’s state-owned Empresa Nacional de Petroleo.
“We are all facing rising fuel costs, it’s difficult for everyone,” Energy Minister Marcelo Tokman told reporters.