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Fuel price protest by Korean truckers hits ports

Fuel price protest by Korean truckers hits ports

Seoul: South Korea's ports were struggling to stay open after some 13,000 members of the Korea Cargo Workers Union went on strike on June 13 over oil prices, Bloomberg reported. The retail price of diesel, used by most trucks, has jumped 34% this year in South Korea, Asia's fourth-biggest economy, according to state-run Korea National Oil Corp.

Port of Busan was handling only 24% of the average volume of cargo, Yonhap News reported on June 15, citing Busan Regional Maritime Affairs Port Office.

Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea's largest automaker, said in a statement that the transport of its completed cars was only half that of normal levels. LG Electronics Inc. was forced to stop shipments from its factory in Changwon, South Gyeongsang province, Yonhap reported.

Truck drivers earlier blocked gates at plants operated by Posco, South Korea's biggest steelmaker, causing the company some "difficulties,'' spokeswoman Ko Min Jin said on June 13.

The cargo workers' union represents about 7% of South Korean truck drivers, according to its figures.

"Shippers should raise the transportation fee they pay so that we can protect our livelihood,'' the union said in a statement on June 13.  [16/06/08]