While strikes in Spain and Sweden's largest port Gothenburg are becoming increasingly entrenched, the customers and thus the carriers are seeking out alternatives. And they will not necessarily return when the strikes are over, according to data from Maersk Line.
A 48-hour strike has completely stalled one of Europe's most important container ports, Algeciras in Spain, until Friday morning. According to Spanish media, Maersk Line plans to permanently withdraw some of its volumes from the key port. MSC vessels have been rerouted.
Negotiations between Spanish dockworkers and the ports have not resulted in agreement. The unions have heralded more strikes in June and ports as well as carriers are hard hit. A spokesperson tells ShippingWatch that the EU cannot resolve this labor conflict.
After the Spanish government successfully adopted a decree to open competition in the country's ports, a large-scale conflict now looms and could erupt on Wednesday. Meetings on Monday and Tuesday will decide what happens.
Spain's government seems to have a majority backing for a new legislative proposal which would privatize Spanish ports after 15 years of deadlock. Unions have already retaliated and call for widespread strikes in May and June. "They cheated us," state the dockworkers.
The dockworkers organized in the International Dockworkers' Council (IDC) have postponed the strikes otherwise scheduled to take place in ports across the world on Friday, March 10, to instead March 23. But IDC has withdrawn from the so-called social dialog headed by the EU.
The International Dockworkers' Council is planning coordinated strikes in Europe and the rest of the world on Friday to signal solidarity with the Spanish port workers, which are currently in a conflict with the government concerning a new bill.
Maersk Line will reroute vessels in order to minimize the nuisances for customers when the Spanish port workers launch their announced strike in coming weeks in protest against the government's plans to liberalize the ports.
In defense of Apostolos Mangouras, captain of tanker vessel Prestige, who was recently sentenced to two years of prison for negligence, Intertanko writes that the captain is the scapegoat in a political game that completely acquits the Spanish government in the historic oil disaster.