Container transport to and from Chattogram port remained suspended for 12 hours yesterday as workers running articulated lorries went on a sudden work abstention demanding appointment letters and protesting sacking of fellows from a private company.
The resumption came at about 6pm after a meeting was agreed upon today at 11am at the office of the assistant superintendent of police of Sitakunda to discuss the matter and reach consensus.
Fouzderhat-based MNM Transport Agency sacked 36 workers in the past couple of weeks, Md Abu Bakkar Siddiquee, general secretary of Chattogram Prime Mover-Trailer Sramik Union, told The Daily Star.
Moreover, the 18 private inland container depots (ICDs) in and around the port city and the port's six berth operators have not issued appointment letters even after signing relevant agreements with the union six months ago, he claimed.
However, Bangladesh Inland Container Depots Association (Bicda) President Nurul Qayyum Khan said they had started issuing appointment letters in March.
Some depots' authorities might not have been able to do so in the last couple of months over issues arising for the pandemic, he admitted.
These long vehicles play a vital part in maintaining schedules as they bring containers once they are loaded with export items at the 18 ICDs.
They also take containers to the ICDs carrying 37 types of imports once they are unloaded from ships and taken through customs clearance and for delivery.
On a normal day, around 1,600 TEUs (twenty feet equivalent units) of export-laden containers are taken from the ICDs to the port while 800-1,000 TEUs of import-laden containers are taken out of the port.
Meanwhile, some 1,500 TEUs of empty containers are also shifted an average.
Yesterday container movement to and from vessels had continued uninterrupted alongside delivery of imports from the port on trucks and covered vans, said Md Omar Faruk, secretary to Chattogram Port Authority.