The company, which suffered from a two-month labor strike in 2013, said last year’s work stoppage caused a delay in the construction of its new port. Drummond expects a conveyor system that loads ships directly to be ready in March of this year.
The notice to customers of Interocean’s declaration of Force Majeure, dated January 8, reads: “We regret to inform you that Interocean must declare Force Majeure as a result of actions taken against Drummond in Colombia at our port in Cienaga. Drummond experienced a long and protracted labor strike last year, of almost two months, during which time all of its operations in Colombia were under Force Majeure.
“As a result of the strike and duration of its effects, the building of the fixed pier at Puerto Drummond was delayed. Drummond undertook intense talks and negotiations with the Colombian government to delay the implementation date of a direct ship loading system for three months to allow us to complete the construction. However, yesterday Drummond received notice that as of Monday night, January 13, 2014, the Colombian government will be closing the port until the direct ship loading system is completed.
“This action leaves us no choice other than to declare Force Majeure effective January 13, 2014. We shall continue our efforts and discussions with the Colombian government to explore alternatives for the port closure issue, but absent consideration of other possible alternatives by the government we anticipate loading will be suspended until March 2014. Should we have any updates to this time frame you will promptly be informed. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.”