Disruption due to Belgian port closures.
Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS) has advised that a nationwide strike in Belgium on 30 January 2012 will close all ports in the country, with knock-on effects likely during the whole week. ISS anticipates that dockers, pilots, tugboats and locks operator will be involved, and that roadblocks with strike pickets will occupy all access roads to the ports. The company has been unofficially informed that terminals will close from 06:00hrs on 30/01/2012 to 06:00hrs on 31/01/2012.
Patrick Van Huffelen, General Manager, ISS Port Services, said: “We advise shipowners and operators not to attempt to deliver any cargoes to Belgian ports on Monday, and we are warning that further disruption to schedules may continue into the week. Our offices will be running with a skeleton staff on Monday, however we will continue to offer advice and support to our clients on port congestion, the welfare of crews should they become stranded in port, and other related issues.”
Separately, and also commenting on Monday’s planned Belgian general strike, ITF general secretary David Cockroft said: “On Monday in Belgium, transport stops. Planes, trains and ports will all be affected. All part of a day of protest by the country’s workers and unions, who are saying no to further cuts being forced through by a government acting dangerously recklessly under pressure to meet EU targets.” ITF president and chair of the ITF dockers section, Paddy Crumlin, added: “Transport workers are playing a vital part in this strike. Belgium’s docker unions will also be in the frontline, protesting against plans that could strip them of legal protections under the guise of ‘austerity’ and ‘modernisation’.”