The Argentine Coastguards issued Regulation Rpol. 008 No. 01/2013, which established new limits for maximum measurements of barge convoys that sail through the Paraná Guazú River, Paraná Bravo River and Talavera Passage.
Based on the powers as navigation authority on Argentine waters, pursuant to sections 89 and 91 of the Navigation Act (Law No. 20,094), and in section 5 subsection a) paragraph 2) of the General Act of the Argentine Coastguards (Law No. 18,398), the Argentine Coastguards (“PNA”) issued Regulation Rpol. 008 No. 01/2013 (the “Regulation”) which limits to 236 meters of length and to 50 meters of beam the maximum measurements of the barge convoys that navigate through the Paraná Guazú River, Paraná Bravo River and Talavera Passage.
The PNA, in the recitals of the Regulation, explained that the motive for this Regulation is to “achieve a better order of the navigation traffic”, considering the “meanders and the restrictions of the navigation waterways in the relevant areas”. In addition, the PNA intends to optimize the efficiency of the traffic management system through the standardization of its maximum measures.
As well as limiting the measures of the barge convoys, the Regulation establishes that the Captain must take all the necessary precautions in order to maintain the security of the convoy which under his/her control and the security of third parties; in addition, the Regulation provides that the convoy must be kept outside the main channel when this is being used by vessels with restricted maneuvering capacity.
This regulation entered into force on November 7, 2013.
It is important to mention that the Argentine Republic, through Law No. 24,385, approved the “Hidrovía Paraguay-Paraná” Agreement, which regulates navigation and commercial transport throughout the “Hidrovía” formed by the Paraná and Paraguay Rivers.
The “Single Rules for the Barge Convoy Measures” (Reglamento Único de Dimensiones de los Convoyes in Spanish) (Section 2.1), which is part of the regulations set by the “Hidrovía Paraguay-Paraná” Agreement, establish the maximum measurements permitted for the navigation of the convoys throughout the “Hidrovía” to 290 meters of length and 50 meters of beam.
Both the Uruguayan and the Paraguayan press have published media articles, claiming that the Hidrovía operators consider that the new PNA Regulation would increase trans-shipment costs on Nueva Palmira (Uruguay) Terminal Port by decreasing the “Hidrovía” Agreement authorized length of the barge convoys.
If a controversy is generated because of the “construction, application, or noncompliance of the Agreement rules or its protocols…”, the signatory countries of the Hidrovía Agreement must comply with the mechanism established by the “Protocol on Dispute Settlement” (“Protocolo sobre Solución de Controversias” in Spanish), known as Las Leñas Agreement, which is part of the regulations set of the “Hidrovía Paraguay-Paraná” Agreement and was incorporated to the Argentine legal system through Law No. 24,385.