The shippers’ strike called by the Platform for the Defense of National and International Road Transport of Goods has already been going on for several days, and although in some production areas there have been improvements in the production of goods from the facilities of packaging, there are still problems getting fresh fruits and vegetables to their destinations, as well as varying levels of shortages in distribution. As a result, supermarkets have little supply due to panic buying by consumers, who fear the impact of the strike and price increases resulting from rising fuel costs.
In mass distribution, the interruption of the transport of fresh products causes losses of around 130 million euros per day. In Almeria, fruit and vegetable companies lose around 10 million euros a day, while in Huelva each truck full of raspberries is worth 100,000 euros, and those carrying strawberries are worth around 50,000 euros, according to the data. managed by AECOC.
In recent days, traders and exporters have faced problems in obtaining packaging materials, resulting in delays in orders. “Some companies are even renegotiating packaging with certain supermarkets due to the impossibility of supplying them with the usual formats”, explains the manager of Coexphal, Luis Miguel Fernandez, who specifies that “a little commercial flow has already been recovered thanks to the establishment of certain corridors at strategic points in Almeria with the collaboration of the Government sub-delegation.”
“In the early days of the strike, we could barely load the fruit to ship it to its destination due to picketing, but at the end of last week we started to regain some normality. Whereas in the past we only had to make one call to a carrier to bring the fruits to a platform, now we have to make an average of 6 calls. Therefore, everything is more complicated and more expensive,” says Victoria Martin, of Huelva-based Plus Berries, which is currently in the middle of the berry campaign, also affected by the constant rains, which are reducing production. “We manage to access some areas with our fruit, although with more difficulty, while other provinces in northern Spain receive less than usual,” he says.
Mercabarna, one of Europe’s largest wholesale markets and redistribution centers, is missing around 20% of produce, especially berries and vegetables like bell pepper, cucumber, eggplant, tomato and zucchini. “There have been problems loading and unloading goods in the port of Barcelona due to the strikes. The companies most affected in this market are the SMEs, which are forced to work very hard to ensure the supply”, have said Mercabarna sources.