Hundreds of export containers stuck at Cochin Port

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Kochi, Aug 7 (UNI) The movement of containers to and from Cochin Port has come to a complete standstill with a strike by trailer lorry drivers continuining for the third day today, blocking several export consignments.

A spokesman for Cochin Port Trust (CPT) said the talks with the lorry drivers had failed to break the deadlock, with the drivers refusing to return to work.

The lorry drivers had gone on a lightning strike on Tuesday night, complaining about the delay in entry into the Rajiv Gandhi Container Terminal at Cochin Port.

The drivers said they had to wait for more than three hours to get into the terminal as the India Gateway Terminals Pvt. Ltd.

(IGTPL), which operates the Rajiv Gandhi Container Terminal, had imposed restrictions on entry to avoid congestion at the port during peak hours.

With the talks between the CPT, IGTPL officials and the drivers failing to make any headway yesterday, the port has decided not to go in for any further talks till the strike is withdrawn, the port spokesman said.

''There was absolutely no reason to go on a lightning strike. Not only will this affect the exporters, who will not be able to meet their deadlines, this reflects badly on the port also, especially at a time when we are going all out to get business from other states also,'' he added.

According to Cochin Customs House Agents Association sources, at least 250 containers of export consignments, including cashew, were stuck outside the port.

If the deadlock continues, the exporters may be forced to divert the consignments to other ports, they said.

UNI ARC DK1157

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