Transport strike in Spain is having an effect on food supply to the Canary Islands
The strike by transport companies that started in mainland Spain on Monday, has been felt in the Canary Islands for the first time as the amount of cargo that arrived in the archipelago this week fell by 70%. Supermarkets predict that they will have empty shelves over the next few days due to lack of stock if it continues.
According to representatives of the islands' food distribution sector, cargo ships make two main shipments a week on Mondays and Thursdays, but this week, the one on Monday arrived with only 15% of what it normally brings, and the one on Thursday brought nothing.
"From next week stocks will start to run out and we will see empty shelves," these sources said. "The markets are not receiving fresh merchandise, and the logistics companies of the food brands are not receiving anything either because the trucks are not going to the ports," they said, adding that the main products affected are perishables such as fruits, vegetables, meat, fish etc.
However, they highlighted that although this is the main produce in short supply, it will have a knock-on effect to everything else as people buy alternatives. "The situation is serious because 80% of what is consumed on the islands is imported from mainland Spain.”
The situation is of such concern that distribution companies have requested the intervention of the Canary Islands Government with the Ministry of the Interior so that the State Security Forces act to guarantee that trucks with products for the islands arrive at Spanish ports and embark with it on board.
"The government hasn’t done anything, they don’t seem to be aware of the scale of the situation, and the fact that problem is growing. They are hiding behind the fact that it is a Madrid issue, and they believe that since there is no strike here, nothing is wrong,” said the representatives.
They also claim that the strike will cause something that not even Covid could do: “There was no supply problem during the pandemic, because the maritime connections with the Canary Islands were guaranteed. At that time the logistics platforms were overflowing, but they’re not now”, they say.
Port authorities in Las Palmas confirmed a brutal drop in cargo in general, not just food. On Thursday a ship arrived from Cádiz with just 50 containers on board, when usually it brings 150.
There are shipping companies that are even considering suspending the departure of some boats due to the small number of containers that have arrived at the port, as they will lose money bringing such as small amount, according to port sources. "Carriers are having significant problems getting cargo to the port," say sources from Fred Olsen.
Despite the seriousness of the situation, the general secretary of the Association of Supermarkets of the Canary Islands (Asuican), Alonso Fernández, played the effects of the strike down yesterday (Friday), "Yes, less cargo is arriving but there is no shortage in the Canary Islands," he said.
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