SEOUL, KOREA - As the rail workers' union went on a strike from 9 am on December 9, transportation of some critical raw materials such as coal and cement has been disrupted, causing losses to manufacturers and construction contractors.
According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy on the 9th, 3,000 tons of bituminous coal to be delivered to cement plants in Yeongwol (Gangwon Province) and Danyang (North Chungcheong Province) from the Incheon Port have been stopped as the freight train operators participated in the strike.
The coal shipment has been diverted by cargo trucks hired by the cement companies. But it is expected coal transportation would be disrupted in a major way if the labor stoppage goes on indefinitely.
An official of the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy said, "As coal transportation relies on railway for 80 percent of its shipments, we are watching the strike situation carefully. Right now there is not much problem because power generators and cement companies have sufficient coal inventories. But the strike continues for more than five days, we have to come up with emergency measures."
The ratio of cement transportation through railway is 33 percent, which is subject to disruption if the current situation continues unabated. As for container cargoes, however, the percentage is only 9 percent. The Industry Ministry official said, "There is no case of disruption related to the railroad strike reported as of yet."
The strike, the first in four years, began after the labor and management failed to narrow their differences on the operation of an envisioned new affiliate of Korea Railroad Corp. to be charged with operating a separate bullet train service by 2016. The workers suspect that this is the first step toward privatizing the state-run railway operator.
저작권자 © Korea IT Times 무단전재 및 재배포 금지