A strike over working conditions has paralyzed cargo movements to and from Vallarpadam International Container Transshipment Terminal, a DP World facility in India’s southeastern port of Cochin.
Unionized truck drivers began their strike Monday, claiming truck owner-operator groups had reneged on an agreement to improve wages and allow additional benefits.
“Container trucking activity is at a virtual standstill. Negotiations between truck owners and union representatives before the local labor commissioner on Monday afternoon failed to break the impasse,” a shipping line agent at Cochin said. “No new talks have been scheduled.”
Union leaders said drivers had been demanding wage improvements and better amenities for a long time. “We were left with no other option but to suspend operations,” they said.
The disruption comes as the port authority intensified efforts to woo more mainline calls to VICTT by lowering service charges to be on par with other hub ports in the region, particularly Sri Lanka’s Port of Colombo.
The Vallarpadam terminal, India’s first transshipment facility, began commercial operations in February 2011. From April through December 2012, the terminal handled 249,000 20-foot-equivalent units compared with 264,000 TEUs in the same period in 2011.