Rolling strike action currently taking place at Portuguese ports has forced both Volkswagen and Mitsubishi Fuso Truck Europe to look at shifting consignments to Spanish ports in order to get round stoppages caused by backlogs to export volumes.

The strike, called by pilots, stevedores and port administration workers, is set to continue until November 7th, and a spokesperson for Volkswagen’s Autoeuropa plant in Palmela said that the company was already looking at adjustments to its logistics set up. Plans are reported to involve the use of foreign ports, including Vigo and Santander in Spain.

António Oliveira, VW Logistics traffic and transport manager in Portugal, told Automotive Logistics News that the strikes have hit the continuous flow of vehicles from the plant reducing output to one working shift with no weekend or bank holiday shifts.

“We already have more than 5,000 vehicles delayed due to this strike,” said Oliveira. The delay is currently about one to two weeks depending on the destination of the vehicles.”

Oliveira confirmed that it was looking for alternatives including the Vigo and Santander ports though no final decision had been made and depended on the length of the strike.

The German carmaker needs stable port links because its factory at Palmela exports around 80% of its output via the port of Setúbal. The VW Eos, Scirocco, Sharan and the Seat Alhambra are all produced in Palmela.

Similarly, Tramagal-based Mitsubishi Fuso Truck is looking at alternatives for the dispatch of its Fuso Canter model, which is exported to markets in Europe.

The company first began to experience problems in September as strikes at the ports made it difficult to import components to produce trucks.

"The delay in the receipt of components forced us to reschedule production and we had to negotiate with our various markets new shipping dates for the vehicles to be exported by sea,” said a company spokesperson.