Spanish ports strike

Port strike called off following rejection of the law by Spanish parliament

Dear Safmarine Customers,

As your partner in shipping, we want to help keep you informed of situations that may impact business around the world. When you have news and updates at your fingertips, you have the power to stay on top of your supply chain even when the unexpected happens.

Over the past weeks, labour disputes have escalated in Spanish ports as a consequence of announced government plans to reform the Spanish Ports Act and change the existing labour system in ports in accordance with European Union regulations. This has caused discontent with the stevedores’ unions, who opted for several industrial actions against the proposed law, which was presented to the Parliament (Congreso) on February 24th.

Like you, Safmarine is a customer of Spanish ports highly dependent on undisrupted terminal operations, and we hope for a positive solution of the dispute. We’re committed to a constructive dialogue with all parties. Regretfully, stevedores’ unions have announced a strike during odd hours every second day between March 6th and 25th (i.e. strike carried out on 6th, 8th, 10th, 13th, 15th, 17th, 20th, 22th and 24th March – 9 days in total). Furthermore, slow-downs (reduced terminal productivity) began in all Spanish ports on February 24th and are expected to continue until the strike starts.

These actions will cause a serious impact on cargo flows in and out of Spain and more widely to our global network, especially due to the strategic importance of the port of Algeciras as a major transhipment port for cargo moving to/out of Europe, Africa and many other destinations.

In the sometimes unpredictable world of shipping, we know you depend on us to react quickly with contingency planning that will minimise the disruption caused to your business and allow delivery of your cargo as timely as possible under the current circumstances. We’re taking steps to reduce our presence in Algeciras during this period and use alternative ports in Europe and Mediterranean so we can reroute your cargo as needed in the most efficient way. You may therefore experience vessel rerouting, port omissions and additional transhipment of your cargo.

Westbound vessels on our Asia-Europe and Middle East services normally calling Algeciras will be diverted to other facilities in the Mediterranean where capacity has been secured. Transhipment connections will be made there for cargo destined for Africa, Mediterranean, North Europe and Latin America, based on our existing network and additional capacity deployed during the contingency. Eastbound vessels will continue to call Algeciras for now, and eastbound transhipment connections will be made there. We’ve also made special arrangements for Spanish import cargo, taking into consideration various options available in the contexts of a port slowdown in Spain and consequent strike.

If your cargo is impacted, you’ll continue to receive relevant information and personalised communication providing all the details of the revised transport plan, including any changes to ETD or ETA of your cargo through our process for contingencies notification. As always, you can of course rely on our customer service partners, who will do their very best to reply to your specific queries or address any issues you may have.

We’d like to take this opportunity to invite you to visit our website portal My.Safmarine to subscribe to automatic alerts for ETA changes, received directly to your email.

It’s important to remember this is a dynamic situation and contingency planning may be subject to change as we continually work to take the best possible care of your cargo. We remain committed to providing you with timely updates and will continue to do so as the situation develops and as soon as new information is available.

Please remember that you can always find your shipment information updated on our website, as well as arrival and departure dates of our vessels. Click here to search now. If you’re on the go, find schedule and shipment information anytime, anywhere by downloading our free Safmarine Shipment mobile app.

Relevant information for IMPORT customers:

Due to the critical and exceptional situation, we kindly ask you to use available shipment tracking to confirm containers have been physically discharged at the terminal of the indicated vessel before you perform any activity at Customs. By doing so, you can avoid issues such as cancelling the documents provided to Customs and avoid sanctions or additional charges associated with those cancellations.

We know you have a choice in partners, and we truly appreciate the trust you give us when you choose Safmarine.

If you have any questions, we’d be happy to talk with you. You can find contact details for our offices here on




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