Based on your current location, we selected the North America edition of FreshPlaza.com for you I want to remain in this edition
Please click one of the other regions below to switch to another edition.

world_map North America Latin America Oceania Africa Asia Europe


Job offersmore »

Specialsmore »

Top 5 - yesterday

Top 5 - last week

Top 5 - last month

Exchange ratesmore »

Johan Claes, BNFW:

"Costs of strike in port of Antwerp 1 million euro per hour"

As a result of the strike in the port of Antwerp expenses increased during the last few days. "Roughly estimated this is about one million per hour for the port of Antwerp." Johan Claes of the Belgian New Fruit Wharf tells. "Then we talk about a direct loss and not about any consequential one."
Thursday morning 16 February about 36 million kgs of fruit did not enter the harbour. "These vessels went under our supervision to other destinations, such as Flushing and Zeebrugge." In the meantime the pilots went back to work, but there are still vessels waiting to be offloaded. Therefore the delay is not over yet. 

"This situation caused a lot of stress and delay" Johan says. "For the fruit sector the problem is that these are fresh products and now arrive later. The strike started Monday evening and consequently the delay for the products could be 2/3 days. But we make sure our clients are being supplied and that everything reaches its destination" he emphasizes. Mainly pineapples and bananas are offloaded at the Belgian New Fruit Wharf.
"It is quite something if we as a private company suffer damage to our image by something over which we have no control" Claes says. "The pilots are being paid well by the government and one could expect them to do their work."

Reaction Van Damme
Christophe Vandenbroeck of banana supplier Van Damme said of the strike, "It has been solved in the harbour and the pilots are working again, but we will still notice it because our vessels went to other ports such as Rotterdam. They are not offloaded immediately. Possibly only on Monday.

"An advantage is that our stock is slightly bigger than normal and therefore we could deliver normally. But the real results we will only notice next week. Possibly we may not be able to supply for 1 or 2 days and that is a difficult situation.

"Bananas arrive green and still need to be ripened, because clients do not want green bananas. In the worst situation this may mean that for 1 or 2 days the assortment to be offered is limited, because certain hallmarks of a delivery are not as yet available. It is still too early to say which cargo is involved and from where the products are. As soon as we know this we will inform our customers."

At  a press conference the Antwerp alderman for the harbour called the strike 'one of the most serious threats ever'. On Friday afternoon there was still official consultation with the traditional trade unions, the social intermediary of the Flemish government and the management of the agency MDK (Coastal Maritime Service Organisation). Shipowners MSC, the most important client of the Antwerp harbour directed its vessels to other ports, such as Rotterdam. The activities of the maritime personnel and the pilots were resumed on Friday morning. After a five hour long deliberation with the Flemish minister Hilde Crevits (CD&V), the pilots decided to stop their action immediately without further demands. With this came a sudden end to the strike, which paralysed the Antwerp harbour.

Publication date: 2/20/2012
Author: Gerard Lindhout
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


Receive the daily newsletter in your email for free | Click here


Other news in this sector: