The transporters’ strike has had a full impact on the supply to produce animal feed and the alert regarding the shortage of reserves has been activated. Jordi Forés’ analysis of the situation leaves little room for doubt: “We are in a critical scenario,” he says. He is the spokesperson for Asfac, the Catalan compound feed association, an entity that represents almost 40% of forage production in Spain. “A manufacturer needs 24 tons of grain and oilseeds per day, which is equivalent to the load of about 10 trucks. With the restrictions due to the strike, three trucks are entering,” he explains. “Every day there is less reserve of raw materials in the factories. If we can’t access the port right now, starting next week we will have to stop feed production,” he adds. And he anticipates that, without feed, the impact on livestock feed (pigs, chickens and calves) will not be long in coming.
The problem, Forés says, lies in the pickets that carriers who are on strike have organized at port entrances. The fence is especially tenacious in Tarragona. “They don’t set up barricades or throw stones, but they put on a bib and stand in the middle of the road to block access,” he says. The protest disrupts the normally incessant flow of trucks entering the port to load. Without being able to supply themselves with the corn, wheat and rye that are in the warehouses of the port, the factories are adrift.
“We have been transferring the problem to the Ministry of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda of the Generalitat for several days, but since it is already a security issue, we have requested the Ministry of the Interior to activate the Mossos d’Esquadra and that guarantee safe access for truckers,” says Forés. In the port of Barcelona it has been possible to establish a “secure access corridor”, but in Tarragona the blockade is practically total. “Our sector is much more dependent on the port of Tarragona than that of Barcelona”, states the Asfac spokesman.
“Tarragona unloaded five million tons of agri-food raw materials last year, Barcelona did not reach two million tons,” he specifies. The grain and oilseeds unloaded by ships in the port of Tarragona then supply the feed mills in Catalonia, Castellón, Valencia and Aragón.
He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.