Portugal: Harbour strikes paralyse fruit exports

Successive harbour strikes in Portugal are paralysing national fruit exports, causing great losses. According to Portugal Fresh, the Association for the Promotion of Fruits, Vegetables and Flowers of Portugal, just for Rocha pears, the losses accumulated in the past two weeks amount to two million Euro.

The situation affects the harbours of Lisbon, Viana do Castelo, Aveiro, Figueira da Foz, Setúbal and Sines, where no ships have loaded or unloaded for almost two weeks. Strikes will continue for five weeks, with various dates set by the union, involving pilots, harbours, stevedores and port authorities, since alterations of the labour law in the sector are said to endanger the quality of work.

The firms with exporting capacity are the most damaged by this, as it is the case with the fruit producing sector, said a local source.

According to the president of Portugal Fresh, Manuel Evora, Rocha pear exports were in a dynamic of "1000 tonnes per week to Brazil until the week before the strikes, which reduced the capacity to 150 tonnes, which is 15% of the exporting capacity."

The president of Portugal Fresh said: "We estimate that in the past two weeks, the volume of sales lost, just for Rocha pears, could be valued at over two million Euro."

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