Lines make limited contingency plans for Spanish port strikes

5/24/2017

Container lines have put in place limited contingency plans in response to the planned Spanish port strikes starting from tomorrow and recent ‘work-to-rule’ slowdowns in the past week at various Spanish ports.

Although a source at one global container line told Lloyd’s Loading List that “… there is nothing special planned yet” because of the erratic nature of the industrial action. “It will be on and off strikes – sometimes only for two hours on a day, sometimes more, or one day nothing at all,” he noted.

However, some lines have been taking a more proactive approach. Several Maersk Line vessels have omitted their scheduled calls at the port of Algeciras, instead discharging cargo destined for Spain in either Barcelona, Malta, or Tangier, although some of its vessels have continued to make their scheduled calls at Algeciras.

Maersk noted that there had been ‘slow-down actions’ on terminal operations initiated at the ports of Algeciras, Valencia and Barcelona since 15 May,  plus official strikes announced in all Spanish ports in the form of work stoppages every other hour (starting at 08.00 on a specific day and lasting until 08.00 the following day) on the following dates: 24 May, 26 May, 29 May, 31 May, 2 June, 5 June, 7 June and 9 June.

Maersk said it would keep customers constantly updated with regard to any service changes that might have an impact on the flow of their cargo.

As reported in Lloyd’s Loading List, trade unions announced eight days of strikes — on every Monday, Wednesday and Friday between May 24 and June 9, during odd hours — in response to new government legislation. Sources in Spain confirmed to Lloyd’s List that the go-slows initiated after the approval of the decree on Friday were continuing, with some ports facing up to a 30% decrease in productivity.