Suspension of industrial action at Port Botany set to ease built-up congestion

Suspension of industrial action at Port Botany set to ease built-up congestion
Activity is beginning to pick up at the port's terminals

The suspension of industrial action at DP World Australia and Patrick Terminals has seen some productivity and capacity improvements at Port Botany following weeks of built-up congestion.

As of October 10, DP World Australia expects to have cleared its backlog within 10-14 days and Patrick Terminals is experiencing up to 21 days delay in scheduled vessel arrivals.

The two terminal operators have more cranes in operation and have seen greater throughput through their terminals.

However, North South Wales (NSW) Ports’ CEO Marika Calfas noted that shipping schedules remain off-window at all ports and may take a couple of months for schedule integrity to be restored.

The protected industrial action took place over an extended period time which, combined with COVID-19 disruptions, weather related port closures and port development activities, led to congestion building up within the NSW container supply chain.

In September, the expansion of industrial action at Port Botany to include all three container terminals significantly exacerbated the congestion issue.

Vessel servicing time deteriorated by up tp 80% with containers spending extra time waiting on the terminal.

Many shipping lines introduced shipping surcharges – either at Port Botany or across all Australian container ports – of US$285-$350 per teu.

Some vessels omitted Port Botany, or suspended bookings to Port Botany, while other shipping lines cancelled some vessels to Australia or suspended bookings on certain services to Australia.

Additionally, some importers have had to transport their cargo overland from Melbourne to Sydney at substantial cost while others may have to wait an extra 3-4 weeks to receive their cargo by sea from Melbourne.