Ports and Logistics

Congestion surcharges mount as strikes roll across Australian ports

Lobby group Shipping Australia has announced its support to DP World Australia’s application to the Fair Work Commission to terminate industrial action at terminals across the country on the grounds that the action threatens to cause significant damage to the Australian economy and to New South Wales.

Strikes have been ongoing at the Patrick, Hutchison and DP World terminals at Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne over the past week over pay and working conditions with a host of liners bringing in congestion surcharges as a result. Port Botany is the latest place to go on strike.

“The new industrial action proposed at Port Botany – including unlimited bans on our three biggest customers for at least the next two weeks – endangers supply chains for critical products and exports and puts unacceptable pressure on the economy,” DP World Australia said in a statement.

Hapag-Lloyd became the latest liner yesterday to apply a congestion surchage, charging customers $300 per teu for boxes in and out of Sydney.

Other lines such as CMA CGM and MSC have instituted similar measures.

“Stevedoring is a vital function in the supply chain. Industrial action of the scope, duration and nature that is planned, and at such a nationally-critical time, would ultimately adversely affect Australian families and businesses. SAL fully supports the application made by DP World Australia because of the impact on international shipping operations,” said Shipping Australia deputy CEO Melwyn Noronha.

The Australian government has urged all parties involved in Sydney’s waterfront industrial dispute to work together on a quick resolution to minimise the impact on workers, freight and the nation.

“Australia relies on shipping with 99% of our trade moved by sea, so it is absolutely vital we see a quick resolution achieved between all parties,” said Michael McCormack, Australia’s deputy prime minister and minister for infrastructure, transport and regional development.

Jason Jiang

Jason is one of the most prolific writers on the diverse China shipping & logistics industry and his access to the major maritime players with business in China has proved an invaluable source of exclusives. Having been working at Asia Shipping Media since inception, Jason is the chief correspondent of Splash and associate editor of Maritime CEO magazine. Previously he had written for a host of titles including Supply Chain Asia, Cargo Facts and Air Cargo Week.
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