The blockades by farmers of Greece’s national highways and customs check points may be costing exporters over 30 million euros a day, and if they proceed with threats to close off ports and the railway network, the cost could rise to over 65 million euros daily, says Kathimerini.
But the real power of the farmer’s blockade derives not from their blockade of exports out of the country but from their blockade of imports into the country, specifically into main cities. Modern cities are very vulnerable to any transport disruption due to the modern business practice of just in time logistics.
Products are moved Just in Time by huge fleets of trucks to a specific location at the required time, i.e. just before the product or material is needed, saving costs associated with storage. But as a result, supermarkets, shops and petrol stations do not have large inventories or stocks in the event of a sudden disruption of their supplies.
That means the farmers do not need to enter Athens with their tractors to bring the city to a grinding halt and force Alexis Tsipras from office. They just need to stop the trucks making their Just in Time deliveries to Athens supermarkets and other outlets long enough to cause the threat of the spectre of shortage and hunger. Thanks to Just In Time logistics that could happen quickly.