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Container handling resumes as transport owners withdraw strike

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07th-Mar-2018       
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bdnews24.com :
Transport owners and workers have resumed moving containers to and from privately-operated depots in Chittagong after a daylong strike against 'extortion'.
The transporters postponed the strike on Monday evening until a meeting on Tuesday after Chittagong Port Authority Chairman Zulfikar Ali assured them of 'mediating the talks between the two sides'.
At least 15 groups of truck owners and transport workers demonstrated in the port city on Monday, halting freight movement at the 18 depots.
Since Mar 1, vehicles have been charged Tk 150 while entering the depots, said Safiur Rahman Tipu, a leader of the Truck-Covered Van Owners' Association, a union of district freight owners. He told bdnews24.com the depot workers again collect Tk 600-1,300 per vehicle for loading and unloading.
The transporters halted all freight work at private container depots from Monday morning to demand an end to 'this extortion', said the association's Organising Secretary Tipu. Later in the night, he said they resumed work after the port authority chairman told them that they would not be charged until the meeting yesterday.
Bangladesh Inland Container Depot Association's Secretary Ruhul Amin, however, said vehicles have to pay Tk 100 while entering the depots, not Tk 150 as the transport owners and workers claim. "It's Tk 50 for the gate pass and another Tk 50 for parking."
All depots charge for a 'gate pass', but parking fees are only charged at those depots that have the facility, claimed Amin adding the Chittagong port also charges Tk 57.5 for parking.
He said the funds raised from gate passes are used to cover maintenance costs of the depots.
On depot workers charging for loading and unloading, Amin said no operators support it.
"But if anyone pays (workers) to speed up the loading and unloading, that's a personal matter."

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