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Indefinite Strike by Tractor Trailer Operators continues for the Third day as talks with Container Freight Stations fail to make progress

Import-Export Operations in the three big ports of Chennai, Kamarajar and Kattupalli remained stand still for the third day on September 18 with over 6,000 trailers and 2,000 open trucks that carry containers in these ports went on strike demanding revision of hire charges.

Cargo handling operations remained paralyzed in both the terminals of the Chennai port

Cargo handling operations in both the terminals of the Chennai port remained paralyzed for the third day with three ships remaining idle at the terminal and two more ships waiting for berths in the mid stream. The terminals would have handled nearly six thousand TEUs during the last three days. Container handling Operations remained stand still in the two terminals one each at Kamarjar and Katupalli ports.

Inconclusive talks causing worries to port users

The talks between trailer owners associations and container freight stations (CFS), remained inconclusive, the strike continued for the third day causing worries to port users. Around 1,500 import containers and 1,000 export containers pass through the three ports daily and these are moved by the trailers to and from the 32 CFSs in and around the city.

S. Nataraja, President, Customs Brokers Association, Chennai, said that the EXIM trade in the in the three ports remained paralysed due to the strike. “Though the demand for increase in charges is a fair one, the trade is worried about the demurrage charges that we would have to bear due to containers remaining inside the port. .

Individual CFSs to take a call on rate revision

M.S. Arun, Chairman, National Association of Container Freight Stations (Chennai chapter), said that rate revisions were to be decided by individual CFSs since the trailer owners had contracts with each of them. “Rates differ from one CFS to another. If there is a problem with any CFS, then our Association can step in. For now, we remain helpless,” he said.

The spokesman of theTrailer Owners' Association said that they were running at a loss since they were not able to carry more than one 20-foot-long container at a time as they were being fined for driving overweight trailers by the traffic Police

Only 20 per cent of the 1 lakh containers used in the three ports are 40-foot-long. So, most of the time, trailers carry 20-footers for which we are paid less when compared to the bigger ones. Unless the rates are revised, over 50,000 persons depending on the trailer industry in north Chennai including owners, drivers, clerks, tinkers and mechanics would be affected,” he explained.

Mr. Raja said they were demanding an increase in hire charges and had provided enough notice to the ports and port users. “We cannot run at a loss for a long time,” he added.

Meanwhile, CFS representatives are planning to meet on Wednesday to discuss the issue.

“Ship handling not affected”

Responding to the issue, official sources in Chennai and Kamarajar ports said that though container truck movement had been affected, other cargo movements like dry bulk and liquid cargo were continuing. The internal operations of the ports were going on and ship handling had not been affected. Only the container handling operations have been affected.


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