Nov. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Port Real Estate NV said its Wilmarsdonk warehouse in Antwerp, Belgium, is delivering “substantially” more than 200 metric tons of coffee a day after complaints warehouses were too slow to send out beans.
A “surprisingly low” delivery rate is reducing the industry’s ability to take out inventories in a “timely manner,” London-based brokerage Marex Spectron Group Ltd. said this month. Warehouses usually keep deliveries to 200 tons a day, according to Roel Vaessen, secretary general of the European Coffee Federation in Rijswijk, Netherlands. The coffee group wrote to the NYSE Liffe exchange earlier this year to raise the issue of slow deliveries, Vaessen said in September.
“The recent demand for logistical bagged robusta coffee has been unprecedented,” Charles Contamine, general manager at Wilmarsdonk, said by phone from London today. “We have been doing our very best to meet our clients’ needs and can confirm we have been delivering substantially more than 200 tons.”
Robusta coffee inventories with a valid grading certificates in warehouses monitored by NYSE Liffe have fallen 25 percent since reaching an all-time high in July. Stockpiles stood at 311,670 tons on Nov. 14, down from 417,420 tons on July 11, data on the exchange’s website show. Inventories at the port of Antwerp, where 69 percent of the beans are stored, slid 21 percent in the same period to 214,980 tons, the data show.
“The number of coffee bags withdrawn from Liffe in the past four months does not suggest there is the perceived load- out problem,” said Antonio Garcez, chief executive officer at Pacorini Group, which owns coffee warehouses in European ports including Antwerp and Trieste, Italy.
European coffee roasters Nestle SA, Lavazza SpA, Tchibo GmbH, and United Coffee have all said that their supply hasn’t been affected by the delays. Sara Lee Corp. declined to comment, according to spokesman Ernesto Duran. Kraft Foods Europe Ltd.’s spokeswoman Laurie Guzzinati was unable to comment when contacted by Bloomberg News today.
“I don’t know what’s happening in other warehouses, but our company has been cooperating with the market,” Pacorini’s Garcez said by phone from Trieste yesterday. “We have taken out more than 200 tons of coffee a day on various occasions.”
The majority of the beans tenderable to the NYSE Liffe are handled by four major warehouses at the port of Antwerp, according to Angus Kerr, owner of Coffee ag, a trading company in Cobham, England. The exchange doesn’t stipulate a minimum load-out limit for warehouses.
The daily delivery of 200 tons is usually not a problem, according to Vaessen of the European Coffee Federation, while there have been “specific market conditions where coffee owners wanted to take their coffee out of a warehouse promptly and quickly, and were confronted with capacity limitations.”
The coffee group represents roasters including Kraft Foods and Lavazza as well as traders such as Sucafina SA and Louis Dreyfus Commodities Suisse SA, according to its website.
Coffee stockpiles in Europe climbed after the May futures became more expensive than July-delivered coffee temporarily in March, attracting shipments from Vietnam, the world’s largest grower of the robusta variety.
Robusta, used in instant coffee and espresso, is harvested mostly in Asia and parts of Africa.
--Editors: John Deane, Sharon Lindores
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