he strike at the Port of Belize is now in its eighth day, and the latest indications are that the port will be seeking legal redress against the Christian Workers Union for what is being termed their illegal strike action which has already cost P.B.L. an economic loss of one million dollars. But, even before the stevedores blocked the offloading of cargo, Belizeans have seen the cost of goods increasing. According to the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the acquisition cost of some items has tripled. Nikita Usher, the immediate past president of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was a guest on Open Your Eyes Morning Show where he gave a breakdown of all the factors that affects the increased cost of goods in your supermarkets and favorite stores.

Nikita Usher, Past President, B.C.C.I.

"Costs of goods in Belize have actually been seeing an inflated rate, and that is particularly for two reasons. One, we have the aspect of freight that has been skyrocketing for the last six to eight months, during the COVID period. I also bear in mind also, that is a cost that is coming to the consumer because it is calculated in the landing cost that the stores or supermarkets will at to the cost of putting it on their shelves. In addition to that, where a good also carries duties, there is an aspect of where duties are higher than normal because of the higher cost of freight. There is a thing in the business of freighting called C.I.F delivery, Cost Including Freight, which means that you take the cost of freight and add it to your cost, and duties are calculates on the value of those goods, inclusive of freight cost. So already having a freight cost that is higher than gives you a higher duty. That automatically put the cost of the goods on the shelf a little higher than what customers would be seeing pre-COVID time. I heard in one of the media houses where someone said, it will not have any impact on that at all. Rarely and truly we have to be very careful, because when these ships arrive with these containers their responsibility is to off load. The longer they stay out there, time is running and you are paying that cost. Automatically, those costs start to add equally if there is a decision taken where we have to divert these containers on to another port, particularly in Big Creek, there are those supermarkets and importers who are saying well you just increased my cost because I have a higher inland cost."

A short while ago, we received this update stating, "C.W.U. is hereby put on notice that P.B.L. intends to seek immediate legal redress for the economic loss sustained as a result of C.W.U.'s illegal strike. We, therefore urge, you to seek legal advice on this matter and call off the continuing illegal strike".

Channel 5