Lorry owners demand for increased freight charges

Tipper lorries transporting raw materials from V.O. Chidambaranar Port to two major chemical industries on the outskirts of the port town struck work on Saturday.

According to the interim president of the lorry owners’ association, Johnson Issac, the shipping agencies were not prepared to increase the freight charge of Rs. 87 per ton to Rs. 90.60 even after the fuel price had been revised several times in the past few years even though the chemical industries involved in importing copper concentrate, rock phosphate etc. were ready to pay this increased charge.

Besides, driving wedges among the lorry owners, the shipping agencies were hiring the lorries through “backdoor operations” on sub-contract basis even as these companies had to pay freight charges arrears to the tune of several lakhs of rupees.

The freight charge of Rs. 1,000 per trip for bringing the bulk cargo from the ship to the yard had been downwardly revised to Rs. 600 after the sub-contract system was introduced, Mr. Johnson Issac charged.

“Condemning this trend and demanding increased freight charges, the tipper lorry owners have decided not to operate the trucks until all these unresolved disputes are solved amicably,” he said.

Operations unaffected

Though the truckers struck work on Saturday to highlight their demands, important operations of the port were not affected, VOC Port sources said.

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