Transport workers at three Indian ports in Chennai have entered an indefinite strike, causing cargo disruptions across the network as port activities have come to a standstill.
As of 7 July, labour action has halted most import-export activities at the Adani Kattupalli, Chennai, and Kamarajar ports while some 8,000 containers are reportedly stranded.
The strike has been declared after talks between owners of container-carrying trailers and trade bodies failed to result in an agreement.
The protesters are demanding an 80 per cent increase in fees due to rising fuel costs; over 4,000 vehicles are participating in the action at Indian ports.
The Trailer Owners’ Association reported that only one association, the Customs House Agents, had agreed to increase rates.
“There are two more associations involved in the trade, but they have not agreed to our terms,” said the association’s spokesperson.
“The price of everything from third party insurance to spare parts and tyre rethreading has increased. The last increase in hire charges was in 2014.
“Trailers had been operation for 41 years now and the business had changed from merely dropping off and picking up containers to and from the ports to more freight stations and distances being added.”
Vessels are currently calling at all three ports threatening to worsen congestion as containers pile up, said transport and logistics firm Geodis in a recent customer advisory.
A new round of collective bargaining between trade union Ver.di and port companies in Lower Saxony, Bremen and Hamburg has yet again failed to provide a valid offer.