The goods unloading operations came to a standstill at outer anchorage of the Chattogram port as the water transport workers went on an indefinite strike from Monday midnight to press home their 11-point demand.
Their demands include food allowance, health care equipment, and appointment letters for the workers and effective measures to stop extortion on the waterways.
Though the unloading of goods at the outer port is halted, cargo movement is normal at the jetty.
Mahbub Rashid Khan, executive director of Water Transport Cell (WTC) said, "Everyday 30 to 40 lighter ships under the WTC are allotted at outer anchorage. When the strike will be called off, the unloading of goods will resume."
Md Isha Mia, president of Bangladesh Lighterage Workers Union, told The Business Standard, "Lighter vessels, tankers, bulk heads are anchored lazily in various safe places including Karnafuli river. At the same time, shipping of goods, sand and oil is also halted across the country."
"A workers' meeting was held in Banglabazar area on Tuesday morning. The strike will continue until our demands are met," he added.
Md Khorshed Alam, joint secretary of the Bangladesh Naval Workers Federation told The Business Standard, "We have not got any assurance from the government to meet our demands yet. It seems that this time the programme will be continued."
Chattogram Port Authority Secretary, Omar Farooq said, "Delivery of goods and containers including container and cargo handling at the port's main jetty, river mooring, dolphin oil jetty and special berths is normal."