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Trucker strike impacts Colombia’s reliability overseas, says fruit exporter

At the time of writing on Friday, a trucker strike in Colombia had been going on for 39 days straight. While some growers closer to the coast had been left relatively unscathed, others had been forced to leave entire crops on trees as long as possible. At www.freshfruitportal.com we catch up with Productora Agrícola del Caribe manager German Pardo, who grows pineapples, papayas, avocados and mangoes over an area of 450 hectares.

Pardo says while 60% of the company’s production was near the Caribbean coast, 40% comes from the country’s interior, specifically from the departments of El Cesar and Santander.

In these areas, the national truck driver strike has halted not only harvests, but exports too.

“Yes, it has affected us a lot. Initially we had some problems with the transport of the fruit to the ports, but now the biggest worry is that we have had to suspend harvests to avoid fruit being damaged or decomposing en route, and that losses could be very large with trucks stopped on the roads,” he says.

In the first two weeks alone the company lost 160 metric tons (MT) of fruit, and it was three weeks ago that Productora Agrícola del Caribe decided to stop harvests in the interior.

If the problem persists, fruit will be lost in the fields as well. Agricola Productora del Caribe - pineapples

“The fruit continues the ripening process and eventually it also decomposes and is lost. We only have cold storage facilities for pineapples, so we haven’t been able to resolve the problem with avocados and papayas,” Pardo says.

He says the fruit still has to be picked eventually, and if they can’t be traded they will be disinfected and used as organic compost.

“This situation affects Colombia’s reliability in overseas markets,” he says.

Pardo says the company has customers in Switzerland, Belgium, Austria and Germany, and the current situation has led to an inability to fully comply with commitments.

“Evidently we are failing, and they have to explain to the supermarkets what’s happening. This affects the whole chain and our image of reliability, both for companies and the country. We hope this is overcome soon.

“We agree with the truck drivers’ right to complain, but we do not agree when their fight for themselves damages many people, and so the right they are claiming goes against our right to subsist and fulfill our business.”

Pardo says pineapples and avocados have been the most affected crops for his business, and because of a halt in exports of these fruits the company has stopped its previous pace of 80MT of pineapples per week and 30MT of avocados.

www.freshfruitportal.com

 

FreshFruitPortal.com

Costa Rican banana industry cries foul over port strike

Costa Rican banana industry cries foul over port strike

Costa Rica’s National Banana Corporation (Corbana) has called on representatives of the JAPDEVA Workers’ Syndicate (SINTRAJAP) to put an end to strikes in the ports of Limón.

In a release, Corbana said the situation – which reportedly has been alleviated somewhat through the emergency hiring of foreign workers – put the salaries of 40,000 banana workers at risk.

“It is unfortunate that these situations happen – not only is the agricultural industry affected, but also the image of our country for not complying with previously established contracts,” Corbana manager Jorge Sauma said.

“From Corbana we’re calling out to representatives of SINTRAJAP that negotiations are not resolved by creating more conflict, that dialogue is necessary. This country needs to generate more work and the banana industry offers a lot of opportunities, however these confrontations enter the development of the province.

In the release, the organization highlighted that if bananas could not be shipped, costs increased for refrigeration or product was lost due to its perishable nature.

Corbana added that a “small group cannot kidnap the development of a nation for special interests”.

Source: www.freshfruitportal.com

Publication date: 10/24/2014


FreshPlaza.com

L.A. port truckers strike; dock worker talks on hold

Some drivers for three of the largest drayage companies serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach began “an indefinite strike” on Monday, July 7, as dock worker officials took a three-day hiatus in their negotiations with West Coast port officials on a new labor contract.

The effect of the trucker strike on the movement of cargo around the port complex of the adjacent Long Beach and Los Angeles ports was initially minimal, but the threat grew larger Wednesday morning after the drivers set up picket lines outside two of the main port terminals.

Initially, dock workers honored those picket lines; however, almost immediately an arbitrator ruled that members of the International Long Shore Workers Union must return to work because of that group’s earlier agreement with the ports. The ILWU and port officials have been in labor negotiations continuously since before their latest contract expired on July 1. On July 7, the two sides agreed to a 72-hour hiatus as ILWU officials tended to an unrelated matter in the Pacific Northwest.

There has been a news blackout on those negotiations, which are scheduled to resume on July 11. If the ILWU members go on strike major disruptions could occur at all 13 West Coast ports. If they honor the truck driver strike in the two Los Angeles area ports, movement of cargo from those two ports could be severely hampered.

The truckers are striking because they believe they have been unfairly labeled independent contractors, which has prevented them from unionizing as employees of the three largest area drayage companies. The truckers argue that their pay is often below minimum wage. They have filed lawsuits and complaints with state and federal labor agencies to change their status.

On Monday about 120 of the 400 registered truckers were estimated to be on strike.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

L.A. port truckers strike; dock worker talks on hold

Some drivers for three of the largest drayage companies serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach began “an indefinite strike” on Monday, July 7, as dock worker officials took a three-day hiatus in their negotiations with West Coast port officials on a new labor contract.

The effect of the trucker strike on the movement of cargo around the port complex of the adjacent Long Beach and Los Angeles ports was initially minimal, but the threat grew larger Wednesday morning after the drivers set up picket lines outside two of the main port terminals.

Initially, dock workers honored those picket lines; however, almost immediately an arbitrator ruled that members of the International Long Shore Workers Union must return to work because of that group’s earlier agreement with the ports. The ILWU and port officials have been in labor negotiations continuously since before their latest contract expired on July 1. On July 7, the two sides agreed to a 72-hour hiatus as ILWU officials tended to an unrelated matter in the Pacific Northwest.

There has been a news blackout on those negotiations, which are scheduled to resume on July 11. If the ILWU members go on strike major disruptions could occur at all 13 West Coast ports. If they honor the truck driver strike in the two Los Angeles area ports, movement of cargo from those two ports could be severely hampered.

The truckers are striking because they believe they have been unfairly labeled independent contractors, which has prevented them from unionizing as employees of the three largest area drayage companies. The truckers argue that their pay is often below minimum wage. They have filed lawsuits and complaints with state and federal labor agencies to change their status.

On Monday about 120 of the 400 registered truckers were estimated to be on strike.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

L.A. port truckers strike; dock worker talks on hold

Some drivers for three of the largest drayage companies serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach began “an indefinite strike” on Monday, July 7, as dock worker officials took a three-day hiatus in their negotiations with West Coast port officials on a new labor contract.

The effect of the trucker strike on the movement of cargo around the port complex of the adjacent Long Beach and Los Angeles ports was initially minimal, but the threat grew larger Wednesday morning after the drivers set up picket lines outside two of the main port terminals.

Initially, dock workers honored those picket lines; however, almost immediately an arbitrator ruled that members of the International Long Shore Workers Union must return to work because of that group’s earlier agreement with the ports. The ILWU and port officials have been in labor negotiations continuously since before their latest contract expired on July 1. On July 7, the two sides agreed to a 72-hour hiatus as ILWU officials tended to an unrelated matter in the Pacific Northwest.

There has been a news blackout on those negotiations, which are scheduled to resume on July 11. If the ILWU members go on strike major disruptions could occur at all 13 West Coast ports. If they honor the truck driver strike in the two Los Angeles area ports, movement of cargo from those two ports could be severely hampered.

The truckers are striking because they believe they have been unfairly labeled independent contractors, which has prevented them from unionizing as employees of the three largest area drayage companies. The truckers argue that their pay is often below minimum wage. They have filed lawsuits and complaints with state and federal labor agencies to change their status.

On Monday about 120 of the 400 registered truckers were estimated to be on strike.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

L.A. port truckers strike; dock worker talks on hold

Some drivers for three of the largest drayage companies serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach began “an indefinite strike” on Monday, July 7, as dock worker officials took a three-day hiatus in their negotiations with West Coast port officials on a new labor contract.

The effect of the trucker strike on the movement of cargo around the port complex of the adjacent Long Beach and Los Angeles ports was initially minimal, but the threat grew larger Wednesday morning after the drivers set up picket lines outside two of the main port terminals.

Initially, dock workers honored those picket lines; however, almost immediately an arbitrator ruled that members of the International Long Shore Workers Union must return to work because of that group’s earlier agreement with the ports. The ILWU and port officials have been in labor negotiations continuously since before their latest contract expired on July 1. On July 7, the two sides agreed to a 72-hour hiatus as ILWU officials tended to an unrelated matter in the Pacific Northwest.

There has been a news blackout on those negotiations, which are scheduled to resume on July 11. If the ILWU members go on strike major disruptions could occur at all 13 West Coast ports. If they honor the truck driver strike in the two Los Angeles area ports, movement of cargo from those two ports could be severely hampered.

The truckers are striking because they believe they have been unfairly labeled independent contractors, which has prevented them from unionizing as employees of the three largest area drayage companies. The truckers argue that their pay is often below minimum wage. They have filed lawsuits and complaints with state and federal labor agencies to change their status.

On Monday about 120 of the 400 registered truckers were estimated to be on strike.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

L.A. port truckers strike; dock worker talks on hold

Some drivers for three of the largest drayage companies serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach began “an indefinite strike” on Monday, July 7, as dock worker officials took a three-day hiatus in their negotiations with West Coast port officials on a new labor contract.

The effect of the trucker strike on the movement of cargo around the port complex of the adjacent Long Beach and Los Angeles ports was initially minimal, but the threat grew larger Wednesday morning after the drivers set up picket lines outside two of the main port terminals.

Initially, dock workers honored those picket lines; however, almost immediately an arbitrator ruled that members of the International Long Shore Workers Union must return to work because of that group’s earlier agreement with the ports. The ILWU and port officials have been in labor negotiations continuously since before their latest contract expired on July 1. On July 7, the two sides agreed to a 72-hour hiatus as ILWU officials tended to an unrelated matter in the Pacific Northwest.

There has been a news blackout on those negotiations, which are scheduled to resume on July 11. If the ILWU members go on strike major disruptions could occur at all 13 West Coast ports. If they honor the truck driver strike in the two Los Angeles area ports, movement of cargo from those two ports could be severely hampered.

The truckers are striking because they believe they have been unfairly labeled independent contractors, which has prevented them from unionizing as employees of the three largest area drayage companies. The truckers argue that their pay is often below minimum wage. They have filed lawsuits and complaints with state and federal labor agencies to change their status.

On Monday about 120 of the 400 registered truckers were estimated to be on strike.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

L.A. port truckers strike; dock worker talks on hold

Some drivers for three of the largest drayage companies serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach began “an indefinite strike” on Monday, July 7, as dock worker officials took a three-day hiatus in their negotiations with West Coast port officials on a new labor contract.

The effect of the trucker strike on the movement of cargo around the port complex of the adjacent Long Beach and Los Angeles ports was initially minimal, but the threat grew larger Wednesday morning after the drivers set up picket lines outside two of the main port terminals.

Initially, dock workers honored those picket lines; however, almost immediately an arbitrator ruled that members of the International Long Shore Workers Union must return to work because of that group’s earlier agreement with the ports. The ILWU and port officials have been in labor negotiations continuously since before their latest contract expired on July 1. On July 7, the two sides agreed to a 72-hour hiatus as ILWU officials tended to an unrelated matter in the Pacific Northwest.

There has been a news blackout on those negotiations, which are scheduled to resume on July 11. If the ILWU members go on strike major disruptions could occur at all 13 West Coast ports. If they honor the truck driver strike in the two Los Angeles area ports, movement of cargo from those two ports could be severely hampered.

The truckers are striking because they believe they have been unfairly labeled independent contractors, which has prevented them from unionizing as employees of the three largest area drayage companies. The truckers argue that their pay is often below minimum wage. They have filed lawsuits and complaints with state and federal labor agencies to change their status.

On Monday about 120 of the 400 registered truckers were estimated to be on strike.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Publisher’s Platform: For Evergreen Fresh Sprouts, Lightening Does Strike Twice

Scott Maben of the Spokesman Review reported this week that Washington and Idaho health officials say people should avoid eating raw clover sprouts from an Idaho producer after the sprouts were linked to seven confirmed and three probable cases of E. coli illness in the Northwest.

The cases include five people in Spokane County, three in Kootenai County and two in King County. All took ill in the past two weeks and five were hospitalized. Nine of the 10 individuals reported eating sprouts in sandwiches served at restaurants about five days before they were sick.

The initial investigation indicates a strong link to spouts supplied by Evergreen Fresh Sprouts of Moyie Springs, Idaho, near Bonners Ferry, the Washington and Idaho state health departments said. The clover sprouts suspected in the current E. coli O121 outbreak were eaten in sandwiches at Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches in King and Spokane counties, two Pita Pit locations in Spokane County, and Daanen’s Deli and a Jimmy John’s in Kootenai County, Washington state health officials said. The restaurants voluntarily suspended serving sprouts, officials said.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a 50 percent hospitalization rate.

According to Maben, David Scharf, owner of Evergreen Fresh Sprouts, said state health officials jumped the gun pointing the finger at his business.  “I find that it is very ambiguous to say that my product is bad,” Scharf told The Spokesman-Review.  He said he tests his sprouts before they leave the warehouse and also tests the spent water, according to federal rules. “I have documentation stating my sprouts are good.”  Officials should keep quiet until they know for certain what the source of the infection is, Scharf added.  “It’s kind of sad that we’re going to put the cart before the horse, really,” he said.

Sounded a bit familiar.

Food Safety News reported in 2011, that Federal inspectors documented unsanitary conditions and food-safety lapses at the Idaho sprout-growing facility implicated in an outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis illnesses earlier this year, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

In a warning letter sent Oct. 19 to Nadine Scharf, president and owner of Evergreen Fresh Sprouts of Moyie Springs, Idaho, the FDA says it found dirty pipes dripping onto uncovered sprouts and employees not donning clean gloves or aprons before they worked with sprouts.

In late June, Scharf initially balked at recalling sprouts that had been linked to about 20 Salmonella infections in five states. Nine of the first 13 people sickened in the outbreak had reported eating the alfalfa sprouts before they became ill, but Scharf told local media she wanted “concrete evidence” that her sprouts had caused the outbreak.

The FDA and Idaho public health officials took the unusual step of warning consumers not to eat Evergreen Produce-brand alfalfa sprouts or spicy sprouts.

Scharf later relented and agreed to recall the sprouts, and the FDA acknowledges her cooperation in the warning letter. As of July 6, the Salmonella outbreak had sickened 25 people in Washington, Montana, Idaho, North Dakota and New Jersey and sent at least three people to the hospital, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Although sprout samples and surfaces inside the Evergreen facility did not test positive for Salmonella, the FDA warning letter says its investigators “documented insanitary conditions and practices that may have contributed directly or indirectly to contamination of your sprouts with pathogens,” and said the sprouts were considered to be adulterated, as defined by federal law.

Among the conditions and practices FDA said it observed:

– Workers operating hoist controls and then handling sprouts without washing and sanitizing or changing their gloves

– Workers leaving the production area and building without removing gloves or aprons, and then returning to handle sprouts without sanitizing or changing the clothing

– A worker donning an apron by lowering it until it touched the floor, then stepping into it

– Dirty, apparently mold-covered waterlines on the ceiling dripping condensate into uncovered vats of germinated sprouts

– Dirt and sprout residue on the ceiling above the bean harvester tank and the bean soak tank

– A dirty oscillating fan blowing directly onto sprouts awaiting spin drying

– A dirty cooling blower in the refrigerated truck used to deliver sprouts

– Inoperable floor drains, which caused pooled water that workers walked through and that could splash onto food-contact surfaces or sprouts

– A pitchfork, used on finished sprouts, stored in a dirty bucket

– Bean sprout residue inside equipment after employees said the equipment had been cleaned and was ready to use

The FDA warning letter said investigators provided Scharf with the agency’s 1999 guidance on how to reduce microbial food safety hazards for sprouts and also referred her to videos related to sprout safety the agency developed in partnership with the University of California at Davis.

I guess lightening does strike twice in the sprout business?

Food Safety News

Colombian banana strike averted at 11th hour

Colombian banana strike averted at 11th hour

Colombian banana workers on Wednesday reached agreement with growers to avoid a strike, clinching an increase in wages and improved social benefits that prevented a protest that could have choked supply of the fruit to Europe and the United States.

The world’s fourth biggest banana exporter, Colombia has struggled to maintain almost 150,000 workers across the industry as a strong local currency made labor costs expensive and overseas sales cheap in dollar terms.

Producers at some 288 farms in northwestern Uraba wanted to slash peso-denominated costs, while workers called for their wages to be increased by 8 percent.

In a past-midnight agreement, the workers managed to get a 4 percent pay rise for the first year and an inflation-linked increase for the second, according to Sintrainagro, which groups agriculture workers including those in the banana sector.

“They say they are in crisis, they say salaries should be reduced 43 percent and that can’t happen,” said Guillermo Rivera, president of Sintrainagro, before the deal was reached.

The strike had been set to begin early on Wednesday. Negotiations had collapsed earlier this month between Augura and as many as 18,000 banana workers represented by Sintrainagro.

The strike would have prevented the daily export of as many as 234,000 boxes of the fruit, worth some $ 2.3 million, Sintrainagro said.

The agreement also improved housing and education benefits for the workers.

Colombia is the fourth biggest exporter of bananas behind Ecuador, Costa Rica and the Philippines. It sells about 80 percent of its production to Europe and the United States.

Source: reuters.com

Publication date: 6/20/2013


FreshPlaza.com

Chilean port workers end strike after new agreement

Chilean port workers end strike after new agreement

Around 1,500 Chilean port workers returned to work Wednesday, two days after they walked out due to management’s failure to comply with the terms of an accord ending a three-week-long nationwide dock strike, union leaders said.

Members of the FTP union at the busy port of San Antonio halted work on Monday after the port’s operator, Puerto Central, declined to live up to the agreement brokered last weekend by Chile’s government.

But the FTP’s leaders subsequently signed an accord with Puerto Central manager Rodrigo Olea to bring the job action to a halt for a second time.

“We signed an agreement with the (union leaders) that restores complete normality at the port from this moment forward,” Olea told reporters.

The workers resumed their strike Monday, saying management had reneged on a pledge to reinstate all striking workers and establish a permanent negotiating table to resolve future disputes.

The company pledged to create a work group prior to the end of February with the aim of “discussing and proposing improvements and modalities of operation with full-time employees and temporary workers” provided the strikers resumed their duties some time on Wednesday, Olea said Wednesday.

Exporters estimated their losses from the strike, which affected ports nationwide in January, at roughly $ 1 billion.

Publication date: 1/30/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Maersk warns on trade implications of Chilean port strike

Maersk warns on trade implications of Chilean port strike

The Danish company Maersk warned Chilean authorities that the port stoppage might have a serious impact on the economy and the country’s image in the world.

By April 2013, the most important global shipping firm and other global companies sent a letter to the Chilean Executive expressing their concern over the port sector strike occurred at that time.

According to Maersk Chile’s business and marketing manager, Francisco Ulloa, “the commercial consequences can be very hard for Chile, because there have been two strikes in a year.”

“Chile is in a very competitive global market. Peru has grown every year about 6 percent, with an expanding agriculture, therefore our own neighbours are our competition and they have port stability, which is vital for international trade,” the executive told El Mercurio.

Ulloa said that what worries them the most is Chile’s image abroad, as many wonder if the Chilean ports are safe or whether they have to consider other areas of the world to operate.

The government explained that although in the last 15 days no ship could anchor in San Antonio, they did so in San Vicente, in Bio Bio Region. However, they could not complete the operations and on Tuesday, one of Maersk ships had to sail from that port terminal without load.

The work stoppage at some ports of Chile is due to claims on wage rise.

“Our services and logistics in general form a chain; when you have a link that does not work, the whole chain suffers,” he continued. “The effect of a port shutdown is terrible,” he stressed.

In September 2013, Maersk had in Chile a 14 per cent market share in the shipping industry, and for the current year, the shipping company bets to “grow with the market.”

Source: fis.com

Publication date: 1/20/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Maersk warns on trade implications of Chilean port strike

Maersk warns on trade implications of Chilean port strike

The Danish company Maersk warned Chilean authorities that the port stoppage might have a serious impact on the economy and the country’s image in the world.

By April 2013, the most important global shipping firm and other global companies sent a letter to the Chilean Executive expressing their concern over the port sector strike occurred at that time.

According to Maersk Chile’s business and marketing manager, Francisco Ulloa, “the commercial consequences can be very hard for Chile, because there have been two strikes in a year.”

“Chile is in a very competitive global market. Peru has grown every year about 6 percent, with an expanding agriculture, therefore our own neighbours are our competition and they have port stability, which is vital for international trade,” the executive told El Mercurio.

Ulloa said that what worries them the most is Chile’s image abroad, as many wonder if the Chilean ports are safe or whether they have to consider other areas of the world to operate.

The government explained that although in the last 15 days no ship could anchor in San Antonio, they did so in San Vicente, in Bio Bio Region. However, they could not complete the operations and on Tuesday, one of Maersk ships had to sail from that port terminal without load.

The work stoppage at some ports of Chile is due to claims on wage rise.

“Our services and logistics in general form a chain; when you have a link that does not work, the whole chain suffers,” he continued. “The effect of a port shutdown is terrible,” he stressed.

In September 2013, Maersk had in Chile a 14 per cent market share in the shipping industry, and for the current year, the shipping company bets to “grow with the market.”

Source: fis.com

Publication date: 1/20/2014


FreshPlaza.com