Machala, March 26th 2022
Swedish Dockworkers Union
418 34 Göteborg
We have just received news about your understandable protest against the invasion of Ukraine. We do support not only your voice but also the position of the whole free world opposed to the unfair aggression of Russia. We also share with you that, considering the facts, more effective sanctions should be applied.
That’s why we would like to introduce ourselves. In Banabio we are an Ecuadorian export company that has been working with Interbanan since 2013. Thanks to our direct relationship, we have been able to gradually increase the volume we deliver to Sweden up to the current 50 containers per week, which represents 70% of our activity. Unfortunately, 40 containers of our fruit are shipped by means of Cool Carriers, an old Swedish shipping company that some years ago got Russians owners only for efficiency in terms of time travel.
On the other hand, we would like to share with you our concerns about the collateral damages being already inflicted to other regions of the world. Regions and local communities that face their challenges on their own. That is the case of Ecuador, which is the main banana export country in the world. Our growers produce fruit to be delivered abroad during the year. In Ecuador, families are currently being affected by the unjustifiable attack as about 1.200 containers can not be loaded for both Ukraine and Russia every week. So, the support of countries like yours is the only way to survive in fragile sectors like ours.
Regarding how many families depend on the Ecuadorian banana industry, some figures should be known. To load only one 40’ container, 16 permanent workers are needed and, once per week, another 40 workers for harvesting. Besides, there are people that transport goods and people apart from staff to feed them. On top of that, staff from logistics, quality controls and administration are needed. In Banabio, our providers are mainly small and medium sized farmers. In other words, 52 families own the farms which supply bananas to the Swedish supermarkets through Interbanan.
We definitely understand that your organisation has announced that no Russian company will be able to operate in Swedish ports. However, if Cool Carriers can not carry our fruit, based on the above mentioned, there could be about 2.160 people directly involved on farms and another 100 people facilitating the loading from the farm to the port who would get affected. So, if Cool Carriers cannot operate to unload the fruit in Helsingborg this would have an impact on more than 2.260 families (x3.8 members = 8.588 people).
As well, the partnership between Banabio and Interbanan has facilitated a fair business that benefits the whole value chain, where all stakeholders can fulfil their purposes (workers, local communities, providers,…), even the last of the chain: the Swedish consumers.
Therefore, a few of the above mentioned have been informed about the likelihood of losing their incomes due to the current circumstances. They have prepared some videos to show their concerns and, as we do in this letter, to beg you to prevent innocent people from suffering for not being able to work due to the brutality of one government.
Thousands of people from Ecuador will really appreciate that our petition is heard. We are working hand-in-hand with our Swedish friends to find an alternative to Cool Carriers since the beginning of the war and expect to find it soon.
Finally, if you consider that some measures can help from our side to protest against the aggression, we are wide open to collaborate and stand by you all.
We thank you for your attention and also for the time spent to watch the videos that Interbanan will provide with the testimonies of the growers and workers directly affected.