Ningbo port strike is over

As the Journal of Commerce reports, striking truck drivers at the Chinese port of Ningbo have returned back  to work after a week of sometimes violent industrial action that brought terminal and drayage operations to a standstill.

The strike, which saw up to 7,000 drivers protest for higher fees last week in scenes that turned violent, is now over and the container port is actively trying to get back on track and move the excess of containers stuck in and around the port.
The strike saw drivers clash with the police and Ningbo’s Beilun container port was blockaded for much of last week leading to significant sailings disruption from one of China’s largest boxports.

The city’s transportation association had issued a notice on 15 July stating that haulage rates should increase on average by 12 percent but drivers complained that many freight companies had refused to increase rates in line with the industry association’s notice. Moreover, drivers said, they had to contend with numerous port and container charges, unreasonable port management, irregular working hours, and skyrocketing diesel prices.

Mopping up operations have begun as terminals try to clear the backlog of import and export containers held up during the week-long strike.  The labor action came in the midst of peak season, when ships headed to the U.S. are full and reports were proliferating of cargo booked at lower freight rates being left behind, or rolled, to subsequent sailings.

Demands for higher haulage rates have not yet been resolved and driver rates will increase. The trucking industry in China urgently requires a newer and more modern fleet, which Hoppe said would be costly, and it was a “foregone conclusion” that both container drayage and LTL rates would rise by 15-20 percent over the next 15 to 30 days in both Shanghai and Ningbo.

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