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Cargo Union Rejects Alternative Freight Transit Plan

Posted December. 01, 2009 08:24,   


The Korea Cargo Transport Workers` Union under the Korean Transport Workers’ Union yesterday rejected an offer for alternative cargo transport on the fifth day of the national rail strike.

Police also called the strike illegal and applied for an arrest warrant for the leader of the Korea Railroad Corp. union, Kim Gi-tae.

The cargo union will also ask the estimated 200,000 non-unionized truck drivers at major logistics centers not to offer alternative transportation service. It will continue transporting freight on the road, but not cargo from trains.

The Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs Ministry said the rejection will bring no direct impact because just 200 trucks are available for alternative transportation. Containers at the Uiwang Inland Container Depot can also be carried only by the additional cargo trains deployed (68 trains per day).

A ministry official said, “If the strike lasts longer and the volume of cargo returns to normal level, cargo could pile up.”

Given the general rise in cargo volume at the end of the year, chaos in transportation could ensue. When alternative train drivers feel fatigue, the rail company must reduce the number of trains.

The coal and cement industries depend on trains to carry their freight, so the damage to the two sectors is also growing. The Hwasun Mining Office of the Korea Coal Corp. supplies some 2,000 tons of raw coal by train every day to briquette factories. The strike has stopped the running of cargo trains, however, stranding some 10,000 tons of cargo.

The Yeongwol plant of Ssangyong Cement in Gangwon Province is also in a dire situation because it failed to transport cement at a crucial time.

The railroad corporation ran 68 cargo trains, or just 25.5 percent of the usual number of 367 trains.