Contract workers' strike hits Kochi port cargo movement

V. Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on February 02, 2011

Private labour protesting move to stop operations at existing box terminal

Cargo movement at the Kochi Port, which is all set to inaugurate its Vallarpadam Container Terminal next week, has been hit as contract workers of steamer agents and truck operators went on a strike from Tuesday midnight.

Private owrkers

These contact workers, who are not employees of the port, are protesting against the decision to discontinue the container operations at the existing container terminal after the commissioning of the Vallarpadam terminal which is scheduled for February 11.

Port employees are not participating in the strike.

However, the movements of cargo to and from the port have been affected, a port official said.

The strike has been called by the trade Union Coordination Committee, which represents private labour, engaged in port-related work.

A senior official of DP World, which runs the container terminal, said the plan now is to shift the container handling operations to the Vallarpadam terminal from February 8.

According to the concessional agreement, Koch port is not allowed to operate parallel container service, says DP World.

But the port trust can operate bulk and other cargo services.


The union wants the Port Trust to start the coastal cargo service at the exiting Rajiv Gandhi Container Terminal.

Shifting the operations to Vallarpadam will leave a large number of private labour unemployed, said Mr Benny Ferandez of Trade Union Coordination Committee said.

However, port officials are of the view that Vallapdam will generate fresh employment opportunities.

Ships waiting

The strike has affected the movement of cargo to and from the port as the trailer crew have also extended their support.

port charges

The feeder vessel operator, Bengal Tiger Line, has shifted its vessel, Maersk Ronneby, to the outer channel from the container terminal to avoid payment of port charges, a company official said.

The vessel has to discharge around 350 boxes and to load 560 boxes.

One more container vessel OEL Dubai is also waiting at the outer channel.

Trailer crew support

Trade sources described the support extended by the trailer crew to the ongoing strike as ‘ironic' pointing out that the trailer operations would be doubled in the port area once the Vallarpadam terminal goes into full steam.

They pointed out that the trade unions are resorting to strike for the protection of a limited section of workers engaged in the terminal, who will get more job opportunities with the modernisation of port container freight station shortly.

Published on February 02, 2011

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

You May Also Like