BEIRUT: The Union of Truck Owners at Beirut Port suspended its strike Tuesday as members awaited the outcome of meetings with officials to meet their seaport work demands.
“To keep our promise to [caretaker] Public Works Minister Ghazi Aridi and officials at the port, the union suspends its strike, awaiting practical and tangible results,” a statement by the union said.
It said the suspension came after meetings held separately between the union’s delegation and Aridi and head of security at Beirut Port.
Officials listened to the concerns of union members who argued that the increase in container traffic at the port and the short working hours of the customs inspection personnel have delayed transportation of goods.
Truck drivers claim they wait several hours for customs to clear the goods, decreasing the number of trips they can make in a day.
The union’s strike, which began Monday, has caused heavy traffic at Beirut’s entrances.
“I understand the reasons behind the strike which came as a result of pain and pressure given the accumulated work that has recently increased at Beirut port,” Aridi told reporters.
Aridi said the Interior, Health, AgriCulture, Economy and Industry ministries should shoulder their responsibility to meet the demands of the union, adding that his ministry was looking into its own shortcomings. He said a meeting would be held Monday morning at Beirut Port to discuss the demands with concerned authorities.
The volume of goods at the port has increased tremendously this year after traders shifted away from importing goods through land routes because of the Syrian crisis.