SHIPPING & MARINE | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Port strike drops business by 12%

April monthly volume is the lowest since November 2009.

Hong Kong International Terminals Ltd reported handling 1.73 million TEUs in April from 1.98 million TEUs in the same period last year. Throughput at the world’s third-largest container port fell 7.8% from March as 450 dock workers struck on March 28, demanding higher wages.

The disruption forced shipping lines to divert vessels to nearby ports such as Shenzhen.

The strike by dock workers, crane operators and stevedores was the biggest labor revolt against Hutchison Port Holdings Trust that dominates half of Hong Kong’s port capacity with partner Cosco Pacific Ltd.

Striking workers last week accepted a 9.8% wage increase to end the dispute. HIT operated about 90% of its normal capacity during the strike. The labor action might have cost HIT US$13 million, according to analysts.

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