Friday, November 27, 2009

Korean Rail Strike Paralyses Freight Shipping

PM Calls on Workers to Return to Work
Shipping News Feature

SOUTH KOREA - South Korea's rail freight services have ground to an almost complete halt for the second day as rail workers continue their indefinite strike over restructuring at state-owned operator Korail which they believe will negatively affect their pay and working conditions.

According to reports less than 10 percent of the nation’s rail haulage is running, causing chaos for South Korea’s logistics industry, with backlogs of containers building up at the port of Pusan and at the major inland container handling depots. As the strike continues shipping lines servicing the Korean ports could see major problems developing in terms of loading and unloading as storage capacities are reached.

Such is the seriousness of the situation that South Korea’s Prime Minister, Chung Un-Chan has today called on the strikers to return to work as soon as possible. At an emergency policy meeting held today he said that: “Railroads are part of our key national infrastructure. If the strike is prolonged, it will cause inconvenience not only to citizens but also to freight transportation, which will put a strain on the economy, going against the public will”.