Hundreds of cargo containers were left undelivered on Thursday after lorry drivers went on a 24-hour work stoppage over delays in servicing them at Limassol port, and they called for stricter measures if the companies running the port did not address the matter.
From 6am when the work stoppage started, hundreds of containers that had to be delivered throughout the island remained at the port while many others were not been delivered for loading on to cargo vessels for shipping abroad.
The lorry drivers gathered outside the container terminal and warned that they would next block the entrance to the port or cooperate with other professional groups facing the same problems for a stronger reaction.
Kyriacos Moustakas, representative of Povek, an umbrella organisation which promotes the rights of a large number of professional groups, including lorry drivers, told the Cyprus News Agency that there has not been any response so far to their demand for reduction in service times by the two private operators at the port, Eurogate and DP World Limassol.
The delays they said, take a toll on their business as they are constantly forced to waste valuable time. Despite waiting, the tachographs fitted to their vehicles record this as working time and as a result, the performance of their business drops.
Despite efforts by the permanent secretary of the transport ministry, Moustakas said, there had been no progress. “The lorry drivers have had enough and have been forced into a reaction,” Moustakas said.
Unless the problem is resolved, lorry drivers are thinking of blocking access to the port and of organising a mass reaction with the participation of other affected professional groups.
He said their reaction was also due to the fact they now have to pay 10 times more in fines they are caught exceeding their delivery times.
On the argument from the companies that they have not violated the written agreement Moustakas said that the agreement was prepared without the lorry drivers’ input.
Speedier service at the port is a standing demand by the lorry drivers who went on strike for several days in February 2017 prompting President Nicos Anastasiades to step in. At the time, more than 2,000 containers had accumulated at the port waiting to be picked up.