MUMBAI's Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) is bracing itself a 24-hour strike on Wednesday September 2 as dockers join a nationwide general strike call the big labour federations, reports IHS media.
Dockers are protesting increased privatisation in coming reforms of public port trusts planned by the business-friendly Narendra Modi government, that would mean a loss of jobs and benefits.
The strike is expected to disrupt most state-owned ports, potentially leading to an acceleration of the long-term trend of cargo diversions to privately-operated, minor marine terminals.
Truckers, seafarers, shipyard workers, railway workers as well as public sector employees and workers from other sections plans to join the strike. The stoppage is expected to cripple supply chains.“The government is bringing changes to push workers out of the coverage of all labour laws and to curb trade union rights," the labour federations said in announcing the strike.
For JNPT, this will be the second labour disruption in as many months. On August 4, APM Terminals' Gateway Terminals India, which is the largest container facility in the port complex and accounts for about 40 per cent of national maritime throughput, halted operations following a dockers go-slow.
This induced carriers to reroute ships from Mumbai and drop off JNPT imports at other ports, including faraway Colombo.
Although the go-slow ended on August 11 after an eight-day shutdown, shippers and logistics providers using the three terminals in JNPT are still reporting serious delays and excessive truck turn times.
Above all, several major carriers have issued congestion surcharge notices with amounts of US$150 per TEU and $300 per FEU for all JNPT-bound shipments to offset extra costs caused by the disruption.
JNPT accounts for 60 per cent of total container cargo routed via India’s 12 major public port complexes and the newest port data collected by JOC.com shows steady congestion is taking a toll on the port, as its throughput during the month until Tuesday morning slipped 10.5 percent from 302,598 TEU to 270,653 TEU year on year.
Source : HKSG.