by Nouran El-Behairy and Hassan Ghoneima
A Turkish container shipping line threatened to divert ships after 2,700 port workers in Al-Sokhna port in Suez halted operations.
The Turkish management told Dubai Ports World (DPW), which is in charge of the workers, to solve the crisis by late Sunday or the Turkish ships would be diverted to Haifa, Israel to keep their commercial commitments and delivery dates.
Workers shut down the port and closed doors to lorries transporting cargo. A move that costs state treasury up to EGP 15 million that day in lost tolls and fees.
This warning came
The strike began on 9 September, fuelled by the termination of the contracts of eight port workers.
The workers first slowed the rate of loading and unloading containers but after negotiations over wages and the reinstatement of the eight dismissed workers failed, they halted operations completely.
A port security source accused DPW of creating the crisis, saying they fired the eight workers at the wrong time. He believes they could have punished the employees rather than terminating their contracts.
DPW has filed a complaint against the port security services for not preventing workers from closing the port.
The Turkish line has been rerouted from Syria since the crisis there. Ships now travel from Turkey to Damietta and Port Said. The shipments are then transported by lorry to Al-Sokhna port and shipped to the Arab Gulf. This Turkish line represents an important resource for the national economy.