Pandering to truckers, Bolsonaro changes freight table

tuckers To temper truck drivers’ moods, Bolsonaro changes freight calculation
Photo: Tomaz Silva/ABr

President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday issued a provisional decree allowing a readjustment of minimum freight prices whenever there is a difference of more than 5 percent between diesel fares at the pump and reference prices used by official freight tables.

The move is a way to reduce the pressure on the government due to rising diesel prices — which have gone up by 52 percent over the past 12 months. Truckers have been an important part of Mr. Bolsonaro’s support base, and trade unions have started to get more vocal about the pinch caused by higher fuel prices.

According to previous legislation, the National Land Transport Agency (ANTT) had to readjust the freight table every six months or when the diesel price variation was equal to or greater than 10 percent.

In an official statement, the government justified the change by stating that diesel prices in the country are pegged to international oil prices, which have been severely affected by the war in Ukraine.

Last week, Petrobras announced an 8.87-percent bump in the average price of diesel at refineries. The readjustment sparked calls for a new nationwide truck drivers’ strike, although these have not gained much traction despite the recent price hikes.

Over 60 percent of all cargo in Brazil is transported by truckers.