Local political and trade union leaders notified the APM Terminals management in India’s Port of Nhava Sheva (Jawaharlal Nehru) of their decision to strike June 28, an action that could shut down the country’s busiest container gateway.
The strike call follows a four-day shutdown campaign dockworkers staged in March over delays in implementing compensation packages for farmers who had surrendered land for the port project. The stoppage ended after government agencies agreed to resolve the impasse within three months.
A shipping line agent in Nhava Sheva said union leaders, representing “project-affected persons,” have renewed their call for strike action to exert pressure on the terminal authority to settle the workers’ demands.
“The strike is likely to disrupt operations at all the container terminals in the port as protestors plan to picket the terminal gates,” the agent said.
Local shipping sources also said the terminal authority has temporarily shut the export gates, as it is not in a position to ensure fixed-day berthing windows for vessels calling at Nehru’s largest box facility.
Trade representatives said any work stoppage at Jawaharlal Nehru Port could hurt Indian shippers and the economy. About 60 percent of India’s total containerized traffic moves through Nehru.
The west coast hub has three box terminals, including the port-run Jawaharlal Nehru Container Terminal and the Nhava Sheva International Container Terminal operated by DP World, with a combined capacity of over 4 million 20-foot equivalent units. The port authority in September last year awarded PSA International a $1.5 billion contract to build a fourth terminal at the port.
Nehru handled a record 4.32 million 20-foot-equivalent units in fiscal 2011-12, which ended March 31.