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Spain: Stevedores strike will leave the Canary Islands without basic foods
Large food chains supply the two Spanish archipelagos by sea; a supply route that will be blocked during the last week of February if the national stevedores stike, called for 20, 22 and 24 February, is finally carried out.
The fact is that 94% of the basic goods shipped to the Canary Islands and the Balearics, which serve, for example, to supply supermarkets and make it possible for tourist companies to operate, arrive through ports.
That is why the strikes, organised by the largest stevedores union, the State Coordinator of Sea Workers, which were officially ratified on Thursday, will have a special impact on these two territories.
Fresh meat and seasonal fruit, the most affected
Sources from the Association of Supermarkets of the Canary Islands (Asuican) explain that, for now, there won't be a total shortage. But they warn that, if the strike lasts longer than the three days announced, the situation could become worrisome.
This is a scenario that they do not rule out at all, given the virulence of the conflict, so they have already started taking action.
The supply problems will especially affect perishable products, namely fresh meat and seasonal fruits coming from the Peninsula. Packaged foods such as salads, tomatoes, cherries and strawberries will also be affected, as they cannot be purchased in the local market and are difficult to store.
Usual orders have started to triple
In the face of the crisis ahead, big food chains have started taking action ten days before the strike, tripling their usual orders this week.
The merchandise from the Peninsula takes between 15 and 20 days to arrive in the Canary Islands. This has made it essential to have large logistic plants in the islands, with a much greater capacity than those in the peninsular territory, which entails very high costs.
Greater influx of customers and more purchases in supermarkets
Industry sources also confirm that some supermarkets in both archipelagos have started to register a considerable increase in the number of customers.
In many cases, they make larger purchases than in normal conditions. Customers tend to purchase products that are easy to store, such as rice, pasta, and legumes.
In any case, food chains assure that, as long as consumption is "normal" and people do not start storing at home, "the supply of less perishable products is guaranteed. Fresh produce will be another kettle of fish. If the strike does not end after those three days, the situation will be very difficult," they insist.
Publication date: 2/15/2017
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