Meeting over gate charge

THE Hong Kong Government is to arrange a meeting between representatives of mid-stream container handling companies and shippers and truck operators to avoid industrial action over the imposition of a gate charge by mid-stream terminal operators.

The undertaking was announced at a meeting this week by senior government officials who met representatives of six associations of shippers, shipping lines and land transport operators.

At the meeting, the representatives briefed the officials on why they were opposed to the collection of gate charge.

Different associations gave different reasons: shippers said the charge meant an additional burden for them because they already paid high terminal handling charges; truck owners and drivers said they had to pay the gate charge from their own pockets and that it was not reimbursed by many shippers.

At one time during the meeting, Tse Long, president of the Container Transportation Employees General Union, threatened to block the gates of the terminals unless the issue was resolved quickly.

Such industrial action would create chaos in the Kwai Ching-Tsing Yi area.

The gate charge was announced by eight mid-stream operators in mid-October and took effect on November 1.