A strike by harbor truck crews has affected normal operations at the Vallarpadam International Container Transshipment Terminal, a DP World facility in India’s Port of Cochin.
Port sources said unionized drivers handling inter-terminal container movements walked off the job on Feb. 9, calling for wage improvements and additional benefits. Labor unions are also demanding job protection for some drivers who have been rendered jobless after one of the truck operators ended its contract with the terminal over hauling rate issues.
“As a result of the strike, feeder vessels are being delayed in berthing, and containers are then getting delayed in transfer between feeders and connecting mainline vessels,” a shipping line agent at Cochin said. “The productivity at the terminal is now far below the normal level.”
The agent said negotiations between terminal officials and union representatives have so far failed to resolve the impasse.
The Vallarpadam terminal, also known as DP World Cochin, has witnessed a series of work disruptions in recent months, jeopardizing port-terminal management’s ongoing efforts to lure mainline calls to Cochin. The private terminal, which began operations in February 2011, offers an annual capacity of 1 million 20-foot-equivalent units in the first phase, going up to 4 million TEUs when fully built out.