Argentina’s government has stepped up security at the ports in its main grain exporting hub of Rosario, counting on cooperation with private terminal operators to keep drug traffickers away from a key industry.
Some 3,000 federal police, coast guard, gendarmerie and airport police have been deployed in Santa Fe province in recent weeks with about half of those based in Rosario, which handles about 80 percent of Argentina’s grain exports.
More than a dozen commodities trading companies operating in and around Rosario, including industry giants like Cargill, have agreed to work with the government “to prevent our ports from becoming a free entry point for drug trafficking,” according to Security Minister Patricia Bullrich.
The ports agreement, signed in September and reviewed by Reuters, authorizes federal forces to enter private terminals and shows that grain merchants in the world’s No. 3 corn and soy exporter are also concerned about the drug trade.