A protest by local political parties and trade unions shut down India’s Port of Jawaharlal Nehru (Nhava Sheva), forcing ocean carriers to skip calls at the country’s largest container gateway.
The shutdown, which began Tuesday, followed picketing by farmers and party workers upset over delays in implementing compensation packages for land acquired by government authorities for the port project.
“Protestors have set up blockades on access roads to the port to prevent trucks loading or unloading containers at cargo terminals,” local shipping sources said.
A shipping line agent at Nhava Sheva said work at the container terminals came to a complete standstill because of the strike.
“This is not the first time the ‘projected-affected persons’ raised such issues, but the port administration as well as government agencies have ignored their grievances so long,” a political representative said.
Sources said port chairman L. Radhakrishnan held talks with senior officials in the shipping ministry Wednesday in an attempt to resolve the impasse.
The protest is scheduled to continue through Friday if authorities fail to reach an amicable settlement with the strikers. Almost 60 percent of India’s total containerized traffic moves through Nehru.
The west coast port has three terminals: port-run Jawaharlal Nehru Container Terminal; Nhava Sheva International Container Terminal operated by DP World; and Gateway Terminals operated by APM Terminals, with a combined capacity of over 4 million 20-foot equivalent units.
Container volume from April through February, the first 11 months of fiscal 2011-12, was estimated at 3.95 million TEUs, up from 3.89 million TEUs in the corresponding months in 2010-11.