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(2nd LD) Military to supply vehicles, drivers during truckers' strike

All Headlines 16:55 June 26, 2012

(ATTN: UPDATES with the latest number of truck drivers taking part in the strike and a drop in the number of containers moved in paras 4-5)

SEOUL, June 26 (Yonhap) -- The military said Tuesday that it will supply extra vehicles and drivers to ports during the nationwide truckers' strike to help minimize disruptions to freight transportation.

The defense ministry said 100 container vehicles and 200 drivers will be placed at major ports, including the ports in Busan and Gwangyang, located in the southern part of the country. The extra drivers will remain in close coordination with regional port authorities for the duration of the strike, the ministry added.

Defense officials said the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs asked for logistical help on Monday, the same day a truck drivers' union with some 350,000 members launched a strike, seeking a raise in trucking fees along with a cut in fuel costs.

The transportation ministry said 1,767 drivers, about 16 percent of all registered cargo truck drivers, were participating in the strike as of 10 p.m. Monday. The number increased to 2,958 as of noon Tuesday, accounting for about 26 percent of all registered cargo trucks at the country's 11 seaports and two container depots.

The number of containers moved in and out of the country's ports was also more than halved to 32,552 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) from the daily average of 72,633 TEUs, according to the transportation ministry. The number also marks a significant drop from 50,332 TEUs on Monday.

As part of efforts to help minimize damages from the strike, the transportation ministry has increased the number of cargo trains from 248 to 277, boosting the amount of cargo shipments to 3,150 TEUs from the daily average of 2,550 TEUs.

Defense officials also added that should there be further requests from the transportation ministry, they will provide more vehicles and drivers, as long as the move doesn't affect transportation services for the military.

The defense ministry also supplied vehicles and drivers during a truckers' strike in 2008.

jeeho@yna.co.kr

bdk@yna.co.kr
(END)

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