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Tunisia asks exporter to avoid French wheat due to port strikes

Thursday, 30 January 2020 | 16:00

Tunisia’s state grains agency has asked one of its main grain suppliers to avoid importing French wheat due to continuing strikes at French ports which have hampered recent shipments.

Public transport strikes that have crippled rail services and rolling stoppages by dock workers have left grain exporters in France, the European Union’s biggest grain producer, struggling to get their supplies to ports.

The French grain industry warned last week of a severe impact on the cereals sector if strikes over pension reform were to last.

In a fax addressed to trading company Casillo Commodities Italia and posted on Twitter, Tunisia’s Office des Cereales (ODC) asked the trading house to avoid France as a source origin when fulfilling its sale of wheat from west Europe.

The ODC buys large volumes of grains in international tenders for the country but it specifies regions from which the grain is to be supplied such as west Europe or the Black Sea region, rather than individual countries.

“Having regard to the situation prevailing at the moment in French ports following the hardening of social movements in France … you are requested to take all your provisions to avoid, exceptionally, this origination, although it is contractual and this (is) in the interest of both parties,” the Supply Director at ODC said in the letter dated Jan. 28.

Casillo is one of Tunisia’s regular wheat suppliers. The sale cited was part of an ODC tender in December in which Casillo had sold 50,000 tonnes of soft wheat.

Casillo sold the grains agency another 50,000 tonnes of soft wheat in a tender earlier in January, while French trading house Soufflet sold a similar volume.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide, editing by David Evans)

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