Although freight rates are plummeting and supply chain bottlenecks are being eased, there are still delays at major ports around the world, in particular, due to strikes. Outages could continue into the fourth quarter and could prolong port congestion into early 2023, according to a Drewry consultancy, ShippingWatch.com reports.
Strikes at major ports in Germany and the UK have reportedly caused serious delays in container traffic, and ongoing and new strikes could lead to disruption for the rest of the year, warns maritime and supply chain consultancy Drewry.
Rising inflation and high energy prices, among other factors, have caused port workers in Germany and the UK to walk off the job to achieve higher wages and delayed wage negotiations on the US West Coast. The US has kept the container market unsettled for months due to fears of strikes. .
Specifically, on September 27, more than 1,900 dockworkers at the UK’s largest container port, Felixstowe on England’s east coast, ended their second round of eight-day strike action on Wednesday. They oppose a paltry 7 percent payment, according to the World Socialist Web Site (wsws.org).
According to wsws.org, the Felixstowe Dock and Railway company is owned by Hong Kong-based HK Hutchison Holdings Ltd, which has interests in 52 ports in 26 countries. The company paid £99 million to its shareholders out of profits from its Felixstowe operations last year.
Lastly, longshoremen at the UK’s second largest port, Liverpool, announced new strike dates from October 11 to 17 against a wage offer of between seven and 8.3 percent.
According to wsws.org, “Workers at all of France’s refineries are now on strike, demanding wage increases to counter inflation, even as Exxon and Total make tens of billions of euros in profits due to rising oil prices.” Energy”.
Furthermore, the report that “the strikes in France come amid an international eruption of class struggle, accelerated by rapidly rising inflation. Dockworkers and transport workers are in struggle in Britain and South Africa, air traffic controllers in much of Africa, and teachers from Germany and Norway to Serbia, Kosovo, and Greece. In the United States, growing anger among workers, especially in the auto and rail industries, opens the possibility of a powerful rail strike in all the country”.
Last week, Belgian rail workers staged a one-day nationwide strike on Wednesday, calling on the government to increase investment in the network to provide higher staffing levels.
Tens of thousands of Transnet rail and dock workers went on an indefinite strike across South Africa on Thursday, demanding a 12 percent wage increase. Inflation is currently 7.6 percent.
Transnet’s rail and port facilities play a central role in South Africa’s bulk commodity exports such as coal, iron ore, chrome, and manganese.
Members of the United National Transport Union (UNTU) rejected Transnet’s new offer of three percent, paid at the end of October with late payment deferred to next year. Members of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) will join the strike on Monday if they vote to reject the latest offer.
Source: ShippingWatch.com & wsws.org