The movement of goods to and from the Kochi port and the International Container Transshipment Terminal at Vallarpadam resumed on Thursday evening with drivers and crew of container carrier lorries ending their 12-day strike following a negotiated two-year settlement with lorry owners for higher wages and other benefits.
Cochin port sources said the first vessel since the end of the strike had come along side late in the afternoon and cargo operations were expected to resume any time.
However, the ICTT is now straddled with around 7,200 containers of cargo, which will take a few days to clear. Industry sources said that cargo diversion will be the hardest to tackle for ICTT as some of the key items appeared to go away from Kochi wit shippers avoiding the strike-ridden port.
“We have to wait and see if the diverted cargo comes back to Kochi”, said an industry insider in reaction to the news of the end of the strike. He did not specify what cargo had been diverted from Kochi because of the strike.
Charles George, convenor of Trade Union Coordination Committee, which spearheaded the strike, said the owners agreed to raise benefits by about 20 per cent over the 2010 agreement.
According to the settlement reached, drivers will be paid 10.5 per cent of the lorry rentals as a day’s batta. Cleaners will get 5.25 per cent. This means that if a lorry is paid Rs. 10,000 for a trip, the driver will get Rs. 1,050 for the day and the cleaner Rs. 525.