Go to contents

5th Day of Truckers` Strike Cripples Cargo Handling

Posted June. 18, 2008 04:14,   


With the nationwide truckers’ strike entering its fifth day yesterday, cargo handling ratio by major ports and inland container terminals was 20 percent of normal capacity.

At the central pier of the port of Busan, container yard capacity was 106.3 percent and the pier of Gamman was also filled with unhandled cargo.

The government said it will continue to negotiate with shippers but rejected accepting “excessive demands.”

▽ Negotiations concluded at 23 workplaces

The government will conclude negotiations today through a variety of channels.

The truckers’ union demanded a 30-percent raise in transportation fees in negotiations with a group representing 14 container transport firms, which countered with a hike of between nine and 13 percent. Glovis, a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor, took part in the negotiations among conglomerate subsidiaries including Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, which had originally refused to negotiate.

Negotiations were concluded in 23 workplaces as of yesterday. After shipping companies decided to compensate hikes in transportation fees from surging oil prices, some truckers went back to work.

In the southern port of Gwangyang, however, container traffic was just three percent of normal capacity. With its inland cargo handling ratio under 10 percent, the port effectively stopped functioning.

Transportation to and from Incheon was also three to five percent. At the ports of Pyeongtaek and Dangjin, 93 percent of truckers refused to work.

▽ Construction unions strike

The Korean Federation of Construction Industry Trade Unions held a rally on the second day of its general strike yesterday. It demanded a standard rental contract detailing a construction company’s obligation to provide fuel and worker compensation for construction workers.

The federation’s leadership held talks with Vice Land, Transport and Marine Affairs Minister Kwon Do-yeop, saying, “Government measures are inadequate but positive overall.”

The federation also canceled a rally scheduled to be held in front of the Korea Specialty Constructors Association in Seoul and ended its two-day strike.

“We will continue to strike in the provinces from Wednesday and keep demanding standardized contracts and fuel provision,” it said. “If the government fails to deliver its promise, we’ll take tougher action.”

With the walkout, construction work stopped at 54 out of 1,832 sites that affiliates of the Land Ministry had placed orders with. In addition, work was stopped at 18 sites in which autonomous provincial bodies placed orders.

▽ Government offers alternatives but presses labor

In a joint news conference of five ministries yesterday at Gwacheon Government Complex, the government said it will crack down on illegal labor action.

A plan was announced to reduce the number of transportation vehicles through the injection of 100 billion won to buy transportation operation rights and vehicles by next year.

The government will also increase the supply of transportation vehicles running on liquefied natural gas, which is 30 to 40 percent cheaper than oil.

Moreover, the scope of evening discounts for highway toll fees will be expanded for vehicles carrying less than 10 tons of cargo.

Experts say the expanded discount will benefit an additional three million vehicles.

daviskim@donga.com jefflee@donga.com