SHANGHAI Aug 22 (Reuters) - Thousands of truck drivers went on strike over salary and haulage rates in the eastern Chinese port of Ningbo this week, and a logistics firm said on Friday the industrial action was disrupting operations at the world's sixth busiest port.
In a statement on its official microblog account, Ningbo Port Co Ltd said the strike had started over trucking rates but declined to give further details.
The company said it was taking measures to ensure that operations at the port, China's third busiest, were not disrupted and to ensure losses were kept to a minimum.
Local media reported the strike began at the Beilun area of the port and that it started with a few hundred drivers and escalated on Thursday to a few thousand, who clashed with police. The Hong Kong-based workers rights group China Labour Bulletin said it involved as many as 10,000 truckers.
Bonnie Xu, station leader for Ningbo at logistics firm BDP International, said on Friday the strike was preventing the company from delivering export containers into the port and import containers from being sent out to customers.
Calls to the Beilun district police, government and Ningbo Port were not answered.
The port handled 16.77 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2013, an increase of 7 percent from the previous year.
Labour strikes have become more common in China this year as businesses cut costs and foreign companies restructure or close operations in response to slowing growth in the world's second-largest economy. (Reporting by Brenda Goh and John Ruwitch; Editing by Miral Fahmy)