Tholen – After days of actions and blockades in and around Brussels, Ghent and Antwerp, among others, the focus of the protesting Belgian farmers has been on the border crossings with the Netherlands and France since last night. Border crossings at Eersel, Markiezaat and Hazeldonk are closed on the Belgian side due to the farmers’ blockades. “Fortunately, we had been informed earlier that the border could be temporarily closed, which allowed us to take action,” says Sarah Hellemans of Special Fruit. The company is located near the border at Hazeldonk in the Vlaamse Meer.
In recent days there have been many delays in the transport of fresh fruit and vegetables due to various actions and blockages. For example, exporter Fresh Fruit Service at VILT indicates that transports are arriving late at their destination due to the blockages on the highways. This causes a chain of delays in the logistics chain and customers have to wait longer. “There are also trucks at retailers’ distribution centers that are blocked,” it said. Laurent De Smedt of BelOrta also indicates to the medium that he is experiencing logistical delays at supermarket distribution centers and elsewhere in Europe. “Delays, but no reason to panic.”
Special Fruit seems to be able to limit the damage on Friday for the time being. “As soon as we heard it, we immediately advised our customers to plan their loads mainly on Thursdays and Saturdays, and our suppliers were also fully informed,” Sarah continues. “Despite some delays towards the Netherlands, our zone remains accessible for transport, but inconvenience can still be experienced.”
Yet Sarah sees that the situation at the border area appears to be resolved quickly. “We are now receiving reports that farmers are leaving, which suggests that by this afternoon the situation will hopefully be back to normal. At these times we are grateful for the extra efforts of our staff and the understanding of our customers to minimize the impact wasn’t too big.”
Rijkswaterstaat announces that there are still options to drive to Belgium, on highways and local roads. “But we don’t know how quickly the situation can change,” the spokesperson said. Rijkswaterstaat advises to keep a close eye on traffic information if you want to travel through Belgium.
There is also a lot of disruption due to the blockages at the ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge. “They have taken strategic places,” says Ingrid Vanstreels of the port authority. “In Zeebrugge and Antwerp, major intersections have been occupied and if you block such a point, everything becomes a lot more difficult. It is a bit unpredictable, but we try to respond to it as best as possible, so that the consequences are kept to a minimum.” to stay.” The port authority indicates that it is best to avoid Zeebrugge if possible. “Passenger cars are still allowed to pass through Zeebrugge, although it is best to take into account inconvenience and delays. The port area is completely saturated by waiting heavy transport.”
Farmers’ protest also affects supermarkets
The farmers’ protest has become grimmer today. Activists entered a Lidl distribution center and Colruyt closed two stores for safety reasons. Protesting farmers have been keeping several distribution centers closed for several days, causing the threat of empty shelves here and there, Gondola reports.
Boerenbond, Groene Kring and Ferm voor Agravrouwen are also planning a protest in Roeselare later in the day, VILT reports. Moreover, this morning there was finally a meeting scheduled between the Flemish government and the agricultural organizations. The latter had called for this at the beginning of this week.