TENS of thousands of commuters in Kowloon and Kwai Chung were seriously delayed yesterday as more than 200 container truck drivers clogged roads and delayed traffic throughout the day in a slow-drive protest. The drivers, who were protesting against a government decision to recover a truck parking site in Kwai Chung container port, began the protest at about 10 am just as 20,000 lorries rushed to the port to beat Easter shipping deadlines. Late last night Transport Department officials reached agreement with drivers' representatives that the trucks could use the parking space for another two weeks after which they would have to park elsewhere. The agreement was signed by a department official and chairman of the Container Employees General Union, Tse Long, after drivers voted 21-16 to accept the undertaking. Union members said they would still hold meetings overnight to discuss other arrangements for parking their lorries. The protest had brought traffic flow in Kwai Chung almost to a stand-still by 3 pm, with a queue of vehicles on the Kowloon-bound Kwai Chung Road starting from Sham Tseng. The queue on New Territories-bound Lung Cheung Road in Kowloon tailed back to Wong Tai Sin. There was also serious congestion on the Kowloon-bound Castle Peak Road and Tuen Mun Highway. Almost 60 Kowloon Motor Bus routes were disrupted with passengers climbing out of the vehicles and walking to the nearest exit out of the massive jam. Taxi drivers who were stuck in the queues complained about their loss of revenue while many other truck drivers failed to deliver their cargo to the port before the start of the Easter holiday. The protesters accused the Government of breaking a promise to provide sufficient parking space in other areas before recovering the 2.5-hectare site. The site used to be a temporary parking area for the protesters after a parking site near Tsing Yi north bridge was recovered last November. Union chairman Tse said the drivers were outraged by the Government's refusal to talk to them before taking action to recover the land. 'There was verbal agreement between the drivers and the Government that sufficient parking space would be allocated in Kwai Chung, Tsuen Wan and Tsing Yi before they withdrew the site,' he said. In a meeting between driver representatives and a Kwai Tsing district officer, the Government decided to allow the drivers to use the site until next Friday. But the drivers maintained that if there was not a satisfactory solution they would resume their slow-drive action. Mr Tse said he was willing to apologise on behalf of the drivers, some of whom were still stalled at the roundabout as the meeting was going on. 'I've tried and asked them to give up but they refused to go. After all, the problem of a lack of parking space is serious and needs to be sorted out as soon as possible,' he said. Some truck drivers who did not participate in the protest criticised the slow-drive as a selfish act by a small number of drivers. Terminal operators were also upset by the dispute. 'We feel very sorry and nervous about what is happening,' said Johnny Cheung Kong-chung, terminal service manager of Hong Kong International Terminals. 'We can't estimate our loss yet but the slow-down in handling goods has surely affected our business.' Legislative Councillors Lee Wing-tat and Albert Chan Wai-yip condemned the drivers' action saying the union should apologise to the public for causing the congestion. They also slammed the Government's weakness in dealing with the drivers. 'The Government hasn't a long-term plan for this piece of land and did not take appropriate action towards the protesting drivers,' said Mr Lee. Due to the heavy congestion, many commuters avoided passing through Kwai Chung and used buses and ferries. Additional bus and ferry services were laid on between Tsing Yi and Tsuen Wan. 'There are too many trucks and the roads are completely blocked. The traffic is usually busier before a holiday and the protest makes the situation even worse,' said an officer recalled from a day off to help calm tempers.