Cochin Port Trust and labour unions have thrashed out issues related to the installation of a fertilizer bagging unit at the port's cargo handling premises ahead of the commissioning of the automated bagging unit procured by the port authority here. The trial runs were held recently.
The bagging unit was procured as an answer to the inordinate delay in evacuation of imported fertilizers and fertilizer inputs from the port's premises. The problem had become acute towards the end of last calendar year with consignments being held up at the port premises for more than a month.
Port Trust sources said that the fertilizer bagging unit was expected to be commissioned shortly, and the meeting convened by the labour commissioner some time ago had discussed the issues related to the commissioning of the unit.
The discussions were held in view of the opposition, from some of the trade unions, to the installation of automated bagging units. It had been decided at the meeting convened by the Labour Commissioner that trial runs on the bagging unit would begin soon with deployment of four workers, two each from two of the trade unions which opposed the installation of the new equipment.
The port authority had approached the State government to intervene as trade unions opposed the installation of the bagging unit, which had arrived here in March. The bagging units are expected to considerably reduce the evacuation time for fertilizers and fertilizer inputs as each of the units can handle up to 140 tonnes per hour or 2,800 bags of 50 kgs each.
The new facility is expected to completely overcome the shortage of hands, of which the port authority complained to the Kerala Headload Workers' Welfare Fund Board.
A discussion among the port authority, trade unions and officials from the Welfare Board had decided to allot more workers although evacuation of fertilizer cargo continued to be slow.
Keywords: Cochin Port Trust