Bolivia improves Atlantic access with new river ports

Puerto Jennefer, Bolivia, Oct 30 (epa-efe).- Bolivian President Evo Morales on Tuesday delivered the certifications for three international ports on the Paraguay-Parana waterway, an event he described as "an historic day" in his landlocked nation's bid to enhance its river access to the Atlantic Ocean.

The ports of Aguirre, Gravetal and Jennefer received their accreditation as international-class terminals, which places them on the same level as the other ports along the waterway shared with Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, said Morales.

The president presided over the ceremony in Puerto Jennefer, near the border between Bolivia and Brazil, accompanied by port authorities, business executives and the Bolivian navy brass.

Morales explained that a large part of the cargo from eastern Bolivia now can be shipped to the Pacific Ocean via Chile, but by adding the water route to the Atlantic, the landlocked nation's foreign trade will benefit from lower costs.

The Bolivian government had pushed for this exit to the Atlantic as well as a conduit to the Pacific via the Peruvian port of Ilo, where it has been accorded preferential use, following the adverse ruling of the International Court of Justice in La Paz's suit demanding that Chile negotiate sovereign access to the sea for Bolivia.

The ICJ on Oct. 1 ruled that Chile is not legally bound to negotiate on granting La Paz access to the Pacific after Bolivia lost its ocean coastline to Santiago in a 19th-century war.

The movement of Bolivian cargo via the Paraguay-Parana waterway totaled 1 million tons between January and July, 11 percent more than during the same period in 2017, according to the Bolivian Foreign Trade Institute (IBCE).