Cargo handling operations at some government-owned major ports were hit on Wednesday as workers joined the two-day strike called by central trade unions.
The worst affected was the Jawaharlal Nehru Port, the country’s largest container hub. All the three terminals at the port, including the two private terminals were idle with workers staying away, said a senior port official.
There are six vessels already berthed and they will have to idle till the workers resume duty, he said.
Mumbai, Kochi, New Mangalore and Vizag are the other ports affected by the strike. However, the oil and other liquid terminals at these ports functioned normally, said a Shipping Ministry official.
Loading and unloading operations were by and large normal at Chennai, Kolkata, Haldia and Kandla. Though attendance was not 100 per cent at these ports, it did not affect cargo movement, he said.
According to a Kolkata Port Trust spokesperson, arrival and departure of vessels and cargo handling operations remained "almost 100 per cent normal". A total of 11 ships departed from the Kolkata and Haldia ports, while five arrived at the Haldia dock. Almost 90 per cent workers were on duty at Haldia port, Kolkata port saw 85 per cent attendance, he added.
However, the central trade unions claimed that there was no arrival or departure of ships at the Haldia port and only 50 per cent workers were present. “Police and TMC supporters removed pickets set up by protestors near the Kolkata port,” the unions said in a statement.
General cargo handling was affected while mechanised handling continued at the New Mangalore Port on Wednesday.
The Port Trust Chairman, P. Tamilvanan, said the absence of labour affected general cargo operations of two vessels. Though officers attended the duty, the Class III and Class IV employees abstained.
Shekhar Pujari, President of New Mangalore Port Stevedores’ Association, said that loading of maize and unloading of iron ore fines were hampered by the strike.
Visakhapatnam Port Trust trustee D.K. Sarma said the strike was total and work came to a standstill at the iron ore handling complex, railway section and the diesel loco shed.
However, R. Kishore, CEO, Vizag Seaports, a private company operating two berths, said operations at the private terminal were normal.
It was work as usual at the private Gangavaram Port.
There was no movement of container trailers to and from the Vallarpadam terminal, where one container vessel and a crude oil tanker were berthed.
Port officials said there only 20 per cent of labour reported for duty.