Seafood exporters in Kerala are jittery over the disruption in trailer movement at the International Container Transhipment Terminal (ICTT) at Vallarpadam, fearing that the ongoing strike may lead to a business loss for the ensuing Easter season from overseas markets.
Cargo movement to and from the ICTT has been affected since Monday as some 2,000 trailer operators are refusing to pay toll at the plaza newly opened by NHAI at Ponnarimangalam near the terminal.
Alex K Ninan, president of the Seafood Exporters Association of India-Kerala Region, told BusinessLine that 80-100 marine food consignments, which are highly perishable, have been stranded in factories following the strike and these containers have to reach overseas destinations before the cut-off date. Many of the seafood export companies have commitments for Easter sales, especially in the American and European markets and the strike may lead to cancellation of those orders.
The situation of factories located outside Kochi is even worse as they have already taken their refrigerated cargo to the port and have no place to plug-in their reefers. Taking back these consignments to factories up to Kannur or Thiruvananthapuram will be a costly affair, Ninan said.
Exporters from neighbouring States who were using Cochin Port for their shipments have already started diverting their shipments to the neighbouring ports of Tuticorin and New Mangalore. The strike, he said, has been declared without any prior notice and has brought almost the entire port activities to a standstill. As the situation is getting worse, he urged the authorities to intervene and find an amicable solution.