Trailer operators’ strike at Chennai, Kamarajar and Katupalli ports called off

TE Raja Simhan | | Updated on: Jul 07, 2022

The strike left around 8,000 import boxes stranded at these ports

The strike by trailer operators that has paralysed movement of containers to and from the ports of Chennai, Kamarajar and Katupalli for over the last four days, has been called off. This follows a 25 per cent increase in freight rates to the trailer operators.

The strike was called off after a 8 hour long meeting in which officials from the ports; transport department, police; Custom broker association; steamer agents association; container freight station and trailer operators’ associations participated.

The trailer operators who run around 4,000 vehicles at these ports demanded an 80 per cent hike in freight using the base rate of 2014. While the price of all transport related items and diesel has gone up, the freight rate for transport of cargo / containers has remained stagnant for eight years, they claimed.

However, an NACFS official said the steep increase was not warranted as there is already an escalation in rates. The cost of moving containers in Chennai was almost double that in Nhava Sheva port, he said.

For instance, the cost of moving a 20-ft container over 20 km is ₹2,400 in Nhava Sheva, while it is ₹4,000 for the same distance in Chennai. A few years ago, there was congestion outside the port, but there is no such thing now, with a vehicle turnaround of around 8 hours, he said.

However, after a lot of deliberations, the operators settled for a 25 per cent increase. This means, for every 20-ft import container, the vehicle operator will get ₹1,000 to ₹1,800 more depending upon the location of the CFS. For export, the increase is 10 per cent, said sources present in the meeting.

The strike left around 8,000 import boxes stranded at the three ports, export containers at many places. Cargo such as pharma, medicine and automobile spares were stuck in ports and container freight stations (CFS), said a port user.

Published on July 07, 2022
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