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Striking workers keep Al-Sokhna Port closed

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Trade offices request ships carrying Chinese goods to be re-routed to Port Said and Damietta

A freighter passes through the Suez Canal (file photo: AFP)

A freighter passes through the Suez Canal
(file photo: AFP)

By Hassan Ghoneima

Trade offices, specialising in importing goods from Chinese companies, have asked for shipping containers en route to Al-Sokhna Port to be re-routed to Damietta and Port Said. This followed a strike by employees of Dubai Ports World (DPW) which completely closed the port

A source from the port security said two ships, from Korean and Swiss naval shipping lines, were unable to unload their cargo. He added that the strike was costing the state treasury up to EGP 15 million a day in lost tolls and fees.

The delegates from international shipping lines have filed a complaint against DPW as their cargo has not been delivered on time as a result of the workers strike.

For its part, DPW filed a complaint against the security services for allowing eight workers whose contracts had been terminated into the port and for not preventing workers from closing the port. It was the termination of the contracts of the eight workers that prompted the strike.

The strike has been ongoing since 9 September but escalated on Friday leading to the full closure of the port. Initially the workers slowed the rate of loading and unloading containers but after negotiations over wages and the reinstatement of the eight dismissed workers broke down. As the strike has continued, some of the workers have expressed concerns that if it continues, it could threaten their livelihoods.

The port security source accused DPW of creating the crisis, saying they fired the eight workers at the wrong time. He believes they could have used sanctions against the employees rather than terminating their contracts.

The source said the workers would now shut the port for a third day in a row. The workers have blocked the entrance to the weighing area for cargo transportation vehicles which has caused a back log of shipping containers. It is reported that some of containers contain foodstuffs which could spoil if it is held for too long.


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