Cargo clearance unaffected by dockworkers' strike

Cargo clearance has remained largely unaffected by the ongoing strike by dockworkers at the main port in the capital Male.

"Our work has not been affected by the strike. Even tonight we will clear and supply cargo throughout the capital," an official of a large wholesale company told AVAS on Monday.

Authorities have put a time limit on transporting cargo within the city with effect from Sunday.

Transport authority had initially planned to restrict transportation of cargo within the most densely populated city in the world from 10pm to 6am. However, following concerns raised by local businesses, the transport authority has now revised the time cap from 6pm to 6am giving businesses a 12 hour window to transport cargo.

Following the change to regulation, Maldives Ports Limited (MPL) has now changed cargo clearance to after sunset.

According to an economic ministry announcement, the time limit on cargo transportation would come into effect from April 1, would include construction material, cargo supply to wholesalers and retailers.

Dockworkers however are unhappy with the new regulation remain on strike demanding better compensation for now having to work round the clock over the regulation change.

The strike has forced some companies to shift cargo clearance to the port in the reclaimed suburb Hulhumale.

Lily International managing director Amir Mansoor said cargo clearance for the company has not been affected by the ongoing strike.

"Nothing has changed for us. Cargo clearance is going smoothly. With the change in regulation we've now made shifts for our staff. So that they'd get plenty of rest," Mansoor explained.

Another company official told AVAS that it would be able to clear the seven containers currently at the port by Monday evening.

AVAS understands that some companies have deployed their own staff to clear their cargo due to the dockworkers' strike.

"The dockworkers are simply too stubborn. They always do this. The only thing they do is make demands," the official said.

The new regulation has significantly eased traffic congestion in the capital from Sunday. Local businesses however, have warned that the hike in costs over supplying cargo in the evening could drive up prices in the near future.