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Container lorry strike called off but Seafood exporters of Kochi fear long-term impact

The sea food industry in Kerala lost about Rs three hundred crores in one week  and apprehend further loss of business on a long term basis due to the strike by the tractor trailer operators carrying containers in Vallarpadem terminal in Cochin port.

The figures are guestimates though the exact quantum of loss is yet to be calculated according to a spokesman of the sea food industry based in Cochin. About three hundred containers carrying the sea food meant for Christmas festivities in Europe was blocked for a week in Cochin Port for a week due to the strike

The holiday season in Europe is expected to begin by December 10. If we are not able to make the delivery on time, it will affect the business during the Christmas season. It takes 20 to 25 days for a container to reach its destination in Europe. There will be another delay of two or three days for completion of formalities before it goes out. Even though the strike is called off, we are not hopeful of delivering the consignment as per the schedule,” the spokesman said

The week-long strike by the container lorry drivers has been settled. But seafood exporters in Kochi are still lost in a cloud of anxiety. The festival season in Europe is just around the corner and they fear a loss of business.

Given the lengthy export procedures, consignments perhaps will not reach their destinations in time to tap into the festival market.“Besides losing a good season, we are now unable to keep our word to clients owing to the container lorry strike.  The setback in seafood export would have a serious impact on allied sectors.

With storage facilities in the Cochin Port running short of space, exporting companies are hesitant to procure more catch from fishermen. “This will have an adverse impact on fishermen, but processed seafood has to be kept in pristine conditions.

The strike by tractor trailer operators was called off on November seventh following a discussion trade union leaders had with Transport Minister Thomas Chandy and other senior officers of the Department of Transport in Thiruvananthapuram. According to union leaders, the major demands raised by them have been accepted.

‘’We have been assured there will not be any more harassment of drivers over weight. It has also been decided to lift the suspension of licences, according to union sources. 


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