By Fermín Cabanillas
Coria del Río, Spain, Aug 5 (EFE).- Spain’s ice industry is facing a crisis amid an extreme heatwave that has gripped the country and sharply increased the demand for ice.
“We don’t even stop to sleep,” spokesman for Spanish ice company Hielos Estrella, Alba Aparicio, tells Efe.
With some two million kilograms of ice cubes produced per day and pre-prepared stocks of ice, Spain can meet a demand of up to 4 million kilograms per day.
But as thermometers hit record-high temperatures in parts of the country, orders have doubled, heaping pressure on factories to meet the soaring demand.
According to Aparicio, the sector is struggling due to increased production costs as well as a lack of ice cube stocks that were used during the abnormally high temperatures Spain experienced in spring.
He says it is the first time Hielos Estrella, an ice factory near the southern city of Seville, one of the hottest in Spain, has been faced with such a severe situation in the 22 years he has been working there.
“The heatwave is not going away and the demand for ice arrived very early,” he says.
The increase in electricity and raw materials, driven by Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, has also spiked production costs. It takes at least seven hours for water droplets to transform into ice cubes.
“It is clear that something has gone wrong,” says Aparicio, adding that employees at the factory are working 7 days a week and around the clock to ensure they meet the demand.
“We are under constant stress,” he says.
Procubitos Europe, the largest producer of ice cubes in Spain, has warned that the worst is yet to come as temperatures continue to rise and production falls.
“There is ice, but less than what the market needs, nobody anticipated this demand,” general manager of Procubitos Europe, Fernando Plazas, says. EFE