Border blockade by farmers: ‘Damage could run into millions’

Border blockade by farmers: ‘Damage could run into millions’
Border blockade by farmers: ‘Damage could run into millions’
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Three major border crossings on the highways between the Netherlands and Belgium are largely blocked.

Thousands of trucks drive between the Netherlands and Belgium every day, says Elmer de Bruin, from the trade organization Transport and Logistiek Nederland (TLN). According to him, hundreds of them come from the Netherlands.

It costs about 100 euros per hour if a truck is stationary, according to De Bruin.

The damage can only be assessed once the blockages are over. But if it takes a little longer, it will run into millions, says Thomas Reitsma, of shippers’ organization Evofenedex, the business association that has carriers and producing companies as members.

Take a detour

The damage is also caused by trucks taking detours to avoid getting stuck. This costs time and therefore also money, partly because rest periods must be taken into account. Drivers sometimes have to put their truck aside once more if they are forced to spend longer on the road.

Trucks not only cross the Belgian border if they have to go to Belgium, but also if their destination is France or Spain. And the other way around there is also traffic, for example to the port of Rotterdam, or strawberries coming from Spain, says De Bruin.

Albert Heijn and Jumbo

Albert Heijn’s 77 stores in Belgium are supplied from the Netherlands. “Our trucks are sometimes hindered, making it more difficult for them to reach their destination. We see limited effects of this in our Belgian stores,” Albert Heijn said in a response.

Jumbo has 33 Belgian supermarkets and they are also supplied from the Netherlands. Trucks have to take a detour, according to Jumbo. This also applies to trucks with products from France or Spain, for example, such as raspberries, wine and cheese, which travel via Belgium to the Netherlands.

They take different routes. The shelves are still full, although fruit and vegetables may not always be delivered 100 percent on time, a spokesperson says.

Perishable products

Blockages can be particularly annoying for perishable goods, such as vegetables, fruit and flowers, but also dairy or meat, says Reitsma.

They are transported in refrigerated trucks and if they are delayed for a number of hours, he believes that this is not insurmountable. But supermarkets do have certain requirements for products, he says.

France

There have also been blockades in France in recent days. TLN also hears from drivers who are sent off and no longer know how to get back and fear that they will encounter new blockages. There are drivers who do not take four hours to drive from Marseille, but ten to twelve hours due to detours, De Bruin knows.

And in France, activists are looking at the consignment notes. If agricultural products are in a truck, the load is sometimes destroyed, TLN said in a response.

“Then you are talking about thousands of euros in damage that is very difficult to repeat for the driver or his client via the insurer or customers,” TLN said in a response.

Consequential damage

The consequential damage is often the greatest, says Wilco Jak, director of transport company Ben Becker. For example, delays can mean that drivers cannot go home until after the weekend, which costs their boss money, because they have to continue to be paid.

And sometimes due to the delay, return freight cannot be taken back, says Jak. “A return freight from France easily yields 600 euros.”

The article is in Dutch

Belgium

Tags: Border blockade farmers Damage run millions

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