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Fracht Australia News - August 2020


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“Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation, there is sure to be failure.”



BORDER CLOSURES IN AUSTRALIA - Everything seemed to go well and restrictions were gradually lifted in all states when the second wave hit Victoria. This really was a major setback so that even NSW had to close its borders with Victoria. Transport and Logistics is an “essential industry” and the movement of freight between states is still possible but there are some complications and of course delays at the border checkpoints. Please note the status per 27 July:

  • NSW - There are 55 border crossings between Victoria and NSW. Six have been prioritised as main crossings. These are Wodonga Place, South Albury; Hume Highway, South Albury; Cobb Highway, Moama; Newell Highway, Tocumwal; Sturt Highway, Buronga; Princes Highway, Tambillica. Freight Drivers from Victoria entering NSW must have a current NSW border entry permit. Freight drivers should apply for a border pass under the exemption category “Critical services – movement of freight or persons on a commercial basis”. This will ensure they are exempted from the requirement to self-isolate for 14 days provided their employer has a COVID-Safe plan in place.
  • Northern Territory - If you have been in a declared coronavirus hotspot, you cannot enter the NT. No exemptions are provided – including freight! The NT has declared the entire state of Victoria and the Sydney metropolitan area to be COVID hotspots.
  • Queensland - All freight drivers crossing the border into Queensland must complete a Border Declaration prior to entry.
  • South Australia - Freight transport personnel from another state must complete a Cross Border Pre-approval Form at least 72 hours prior to arrival. Freight drivers from Victoria must wear a face mask in public and maintain records of close contacts. They also must self-quarantine in SA when not undertaking work related duties.
  • Western Australia - All freight drivers must apply for an exemption. Anyone permitted to enter WA who has been in Victoria in the previous 14 days has to take a COVID-19 test on day 11 of their time in WA (or at any time when symptoms develop).
  • Tasmania - Freight drivers who have been in Victoria in the previous 14 days must apply for an Essential Travellers Pass. If they are granted Essential Traveller Status they must wear a face mask and limit their movement when not in the workplace.
  • Victoria - No restrictions.
  • ACT - Freight drivers from Victoria must apply for an exemption at least 48 hours before arrival.

THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT RELEASED A PROTOCOL for domestic border controls on 24 July. This protocol will assist the freight industry to comply with greater consistency in border management of supply chains. It’s a detailed document which applies to drivers of any heavy vehicles over 4.5 GVM and rail crew. One of the key points is  “heavy vehicle drivers and rail crew should not be required to quarantine or self-isolate for 14 days following a border crossing in relevant jurisdiction, unless they develop symptoms of COVID-19 or have been a close contact of someone who has COVID-19, or as directed by health authorities.”

MELBOURNE AIRPORT - A staff member in the dnata Air Cargo Facility has returned a positive COVID-19 test. dnata identified all staff who were on the same shifts and directed them to undergo testing and they will not return to work until they have received a negative test. A deep cleaning and thorough disinfection was done and rosters amended.


  • SAUDI ARABIA - In addition to tripling its VAT rate (Fracht Logistics News June 2020) the Kingdom has now also increased the customs duties for 575 commodities to mitigate the financial and economic impacts of COVID-19.
  • UNITED KINGDOM - The transition period with the EU will end on 1 January 2021 and the UK will operate a full external border as a sovereign nation. This means that controls will be in place on the movement of goods between Great Britain and the EU. Imports will be subject to VAT and customs duties (if applicable) and exporters will have to provide export declarations as well as UK exit Safety and Security declarations.
  • VIETNAM - South Vietnam’s Cai Mep Port is one of the beneficiaries of the US – China trade war and more recently the acceleration of the supply chain diversification triggered by the Coronavirus from an over-reliance on Chinese suppliers. The port has enjoyed significant volume growth for the past four years and its utilisation is now 90%. That’s a far cry from 2015, when six years after opening and still running at only 35% capacity, Cai Mep was described by some analysts as a white elephant. Unlike some of its competitors which can only handle smaller vessels, Cai Mep is licensed to handle ultra-large container-ships of 18,000 TEU (twenty foot equivalent unit) capacity. Of the 11 million TEU handled in South Vietnam last year, Cai Mep’s share was 3.7 million.


  • CREW-CHANGE ISSUES COULD THREATEN AUSTRALIAN SUPPLY CHAINS. Seafarers are being forced by government rules to combat COVID-19 to stay at sea for months beyond what they originally agreed. The 14 days quarantine period for overseas arrivals and limited flight options makes crew changes extremely difficult which could potentially result in crews exceeding the 14 month maximum stay at sea. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority announced it would detain ships with crew who have been aboard for 14 months, which would impact an increasing number of ships, unless rules are eased.
  • SOME SHIPPING LINES HAVE STARTED TO CHARGE “NO ROLL PREMIUMS” OR “PRIORITY BOOKING FEES” of up to USD500.00 per container to guarantee that the shipment won’t be short shipped. Due to the extensive blanking (cancellations) of sailings in recent months most ships are now overbooked so that in some ports the “rolling” of containers is now quite frequent. Many shipping lines have also introduced Peak Season Surcharges and have again announced “Rate Restorations” of up to USD300.00 per TEU (twenty foot equivalent unit) from 1 August.


  • VOLUMES WERE SUBSTANTIALLY DOWN IN MAY IN AUSTRALIAN PORTS compared to May 2019. Container volumes in Melbourne declined by -12.4%, Sydney -6.4%, Brisbane – 7%, Fremantle -21.25% and Adelaide – 18.75%. However, preliminary figures released for Fremantle and Melbourne indicate a positive turnaround in June. Compared to 2019 Fremantle’s figures are less than 1% lower this year and Melbourne achieved a 6% increase. Good news indeed.
  • JULY WASN’T A VERY GOOD MONTH FOR AUSTRALIAN PORTS due to port congestions and vessel schedules changes caused by weather related events and industrial action in the DP World terminals.
  • LOCAL CHARGES IN MELBOURNE AND SYDNEY ARE INCREASING AGAIN for many exporters and importers. Melbourne’s Victoria International Container Terminal will increase its Infrastructure Charge to AUD 131.03 on 1 August and in Sydney the new toll introduced in connection with the M5 East Tunnel will increase the cost of a container by around AUD50.00. 


According to the latest IATA figures, industry wide volumes fell by 20.3% year-on-year in May which is a slight improvement from the 25.6% decline seen in April. Supply chains remain disrupted amid low available capacity levels. Year to date for the first five months to May international airfreight declined by -14.4% and the Asia Pacific region dropped by – 14.1%. 


The Australian Border Force (ABF) has confirmed that the Federal Government is considering extending the tariff concessional item for hygiene and medical products used for preventing the spread of COVID-19 beyond its current end-date of 31 July. (Please refer to our June Newsletter for further details about the temporary elimination of customs duties for these products). 


If you would like further information about any of the above items, please contact one of our friendly Fracht Team members at



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