CALCUTTA BOX STATION OPENS AFTER 3-YEAR BATTLE WITH LABOR

CALCUTTA BOX STATION OPENS AFTER 3-YEAR BATTLE WITH LABOR

A container freight station attached to the Port of Calcutta has begun operations after a three-year legal battle with dockworkers.

The station was ready in 1992 and the port management sought to operate it with its own labor. The Master Stevedores Association demanded its members be allowed to participate, and when management refused, the association took the matter to the Calcutta high court.The court issued an interim injunction blocking operation of the freight station. It took three years for the court to hear the case and last month, it dismissed the dockworkers' petition.

"The opening of the freight station will result in more efficient and cost-effective container handling," said Bikram Sarkar, port chairman.

Port officials said the station will charge only 4,200 rupees ($135) a container compared with 10,000 rupees levied by stevedores at the city's private box stations.

Traffic at the port is on the rise, with the number of shipping lines increasing to 68 from 51 a year ago.