Agri Business

Seafood exporters move court for shipments' despatch from Cochin port

K C Gopakumar Kochi | Updated on February 04, 2011

The Kerala High Court, on Friday, admitted a writ petition filed by the Seafood Exporters Association of India and Mangala Seafood Exim Private Ltd, seeking a directive to the Cochin Port Trust (CPT) to immediately dispatch the 129 containers of marine/seafood products lying in the dock, due to the strike by a section of the employees of the Steamer Agents Association and United Stevedores Association.

Mr Justice P.N. Ravindran, while admitting the petition, also issued notices to CPT, the Union Government and other respondents.

Strike without warning

According to the petitioners, a few days ago, a section of the workers belonging to the Stevedores and Steamer agents, went on a strike without giving any advance notice.

The strike had paralysed the functioning of the terminal at the port. Seafood sent by the producers to the terminal is still remaining at the port. They had brought consignments to the terminal after getting customs clearance.

Consigments of seafood, a perishable commodity, were kept in containers where a minimum temperature of 18 degree C has to be maintained. This will have to be done until goods are delivered at the destination.

Around 129 containers containing seafood worth Rs 39 crore could not be loaded on to waiting ships due to the strike. The power supply to the container had to be maintained until the goods were delivered into the ships.

The members of the association were facing a predicament. Not a single vessel has moved out of the terminal since the strike began on February.

In fact, neither did the Central Government nor the Port Trust authorities take any positive steps to settle the strike. The strike was launched because of some misgivings about certain issues which emerged in the wake of the Vallarpadom International Trans-shipment Container Terminal.

Possibility of sabotage

The petitioners also said that there was possibility of the strike turning violent and striking employees indulging in sabotage.

Therefore, the Port Trust authorities should reinforce the security of the dock by employing more Central Industrial Security Force personnel.

Protection sought

The petitioners sought a directive to the CPT to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the 129 seafood containers . They also sought a directive to the CPT to deploy the required CISF personnel to ensure protection against the possible sabotage.

Kitex Garments Ltd also sought a directive to the CPT to take steps to despatch their containers to the Colombo port.

Published on February 04, 2011

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