31 May 2006

New Caledonia's main port reopens after 10-day union blockade

7:48 pm on 31 May 2006

New Caledonia's main port is open again after a ten-day blockade by the Kanak USTKE union which objects to the arrival of two new big international shipping companies.

An estimated 1,000 containers are now being cleared from the Noumea port but the dispute is not resolved.

The MSC shipping company says it will lodge a complaint against France in the European Court of Justice over the union's bid to dictate which shipping companies are allowed to call in at the port of Noumea.

The union says its action is aimed at preventing smaller shipping companies from being squeezed out of the market.

A further test is expected on Saturday when a ship of the company Maersk is due to dock.