Trailer-operators' strike hits box movement in Chennai port

T.E. Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on August 22, 2011

Very slow movement: Container laden trailers parked on either side of the road in North Chennai, due to a strike by the vehicle operators. — Bijoy Ghosh   -  Business Line

“We are fed up with the way things are happening at the Chennai port,” said an official of a leading Custom house agent.

“If the non-availability of enough gates at the port is delaying movement of containers in and out of the port, the flash strike by trailer operators from Friday has aggravated the situation,” he said.

A five-member team representing various industry quarters has not been attending their offices for the last two weeks but approaching various State Governments officials, including the Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker and the Commissioner of Police, to find a solution to the gate problem, he said. Only one gate (Zero Gate) is allowed for movement of containers in and out of the port. This means every day, nearly 15,000 have to use this gate in the port's northern side to move in or out the boxes. Due to this, the movement has been very slow and in the last few days, at any point of time, over 100 vehicles will be in the queue outside the port. Due to the delay, the Chennai Feeder Operators have already imposed a surcharge.

The strike by trailer operators since Friday night has aggravated the situation at Chennai port's two private container terminals where there is already a surcharge by feeder operators due to delays.

As of this morning, over 500 vehicles, including with export containers, have lined up for over 8 km up to Ernavur in North Chennai waiting to enter the port. The strike means further delays for movement of containers from and to the port.

The strike started due to a minor fight between a trailer driver and a port official. The allegation is that the official beat up the driver that led to the flash strike by the vehicle operators, said industry sources.

Two rounds of talks today between Chennai port trust officials and the striking trailers did not yield any results, the sources said.

Published on August 22, 2011

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