The four day strike by the container trailer operators in Chennai Kamarajar and Katupalli ports has been called off after the administration conceded a 25 per cent hike in haulage rates after an eight hour long discussions between the stakeholders on July seventh night.
About 4,000 trailer vehicles have been off the road since 4 July
About 4,000 trailer vehicles handling local container freight station (CFS) cargo at the ports of Chennai, Ennore (Kamarajar) and Kattupalli have been off the road since July fourth demanding revision in hire charges.
The trailers owners associations demanded a 80 per cent hike. The strike left about eight thousand containers stranded at these ports setting at naught attempts by the shipping industry to mitigate transshipment challenges faced at Colombo port by using the southern Chennai region ports
The Trailer Owners’ Association is pressing for a substantial “long overdue” hike in haulage rates, justifiable in the wake of rising fuel prices and other cost hikes. “We have asked for an 80 per cent increase in the current rate levels, but there is no positive response,” one transporter , from the National Association of Container Freight Stations (NACFS), the umbrella body of about 35 CFSs in the region told the media persons.
However, CFS owner sources claim Chennai trailer charges are already higher than at other port locations, notably Nhava Sheva (JNPT). According to them, a 20ft box local/CFS move in Nhava Sheva costs the cargo owner about Rs2,500 ($32), versus Rs3,400 at Chennai. The Chennai Trailer operators are pitching their demand Rs6,120 for a 20ft container trip and Rs12,240 for a 40ft box, for calling off their indefinite stike
“Rates cannot be revised arbitrarily at our level,” a Chennai-based CFS operator said. “Cargo is moved under shipper-carrier contracts.”