A long and lengthy queue of trucks at the border between Argentina and Chile was unblocked on Sunday, after both countries reached an agreement to relax Covid-19 health controls that had delayed some 3,000 vehicles for almost two weeks.
"After two weeks of delays at the border, the ambassadors of Argentina and Chile sealed an agreement that will allow the flow of cargo transport between the two countries to resume," announced the Federación Argentina de Entidades Empresarias del Autotransporte de Cargas (Argentine Federation of Freight Transport Business Entities, FADEEAC).
Several hundred trucks from Argentina were blocked at the Cristo Redentor crossing at an altitude of more than 3,100 metres, due to requirements for truck-drivers needing an negative antigen test and a lack of sufficient personnel to speed up the process.
In total, some 3,000 trucks were stopped in Mendoza Province, many of them at points before the border crossing where car parks were already full, according to FADEEAC.
About 1,000 trucks cross daily via Cristo Redentor, half of them Argentine and the rest from elsewhere in the Mercosur, in search of ports on the Pacific Ocean.
In response to the hauliers' demands, the Argentine and Chilean authorities established a new protocol that exempts drivers who present a PCR test performed 72 hours before their arrival at the border from the antigen test. But from next Wednesday, the PCR test will have to be carried out within 48 hours at the latest, according to Argentina's Security Ministry.
There will also be random antigen tests carried out and the number of health checkpoints for trucks will be increased from seven to 14.