Ongoing blockades by farmers of Greece’s national highways and customs check points may be costing exporters over 30 million euros a day, professionals warn, adding that if they proceed with threats to close off ports and the railway network, the cost could rise to over 65 million euros daily.
Farmers have been protesting social security reform proposals since mid-January by setting up blockades at key junctions on the national road work and at borders that often last as long as 12 hours, preventing the passage of trucks carrying cargo as well as private vehicles.
According to data from the Panhellenic Exporters’ Association (PSE) 43 percent of Greek exports are sent by road, which based on 2015 data comes to a value of 30.8 million euros a day. Total exports by sea came to 37.2 million euros a day last year, the PSE data show.
Exporters are voicing concerns that the ongoing blockades are forcing their drivers to take longer alternative routes or to spend hours waiting for farmers to open passage at toll stations and customs check points, pushing up the cost of supply. Delays in deliveries to foreign clients may also lead to penalties, they say.
The farmers’ action, however, has not affected supply in the domestic market, though professionals warn that if the protests are to continue as planned supply cannot be guaranteed.
“So far, we have had no problems in the supply flow to our stores as we made sure to have enough stock,” an executive at a super market chain who declined to be named told Kathimerini.
Another executive at a separate super market chain, also speaking on condition of anonymity, added, however, “that there have been a few minor shortages in fresh produce because suppliers are prevented from arriving.
“We have increased the shifts at our warehouses to address the problem, at the cost that entails,” he added.
The impact of the protests has yet to be estimated.