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Fracht Australia Newsflash - Industrial Action, Port Botany Protest and Terminal Congestion


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PRO-PALESTINIAN protesters disrupted operations at Port Botany on Tuesday night (21 November).

About 400 demonstrators gathered at the port to attempt to block the arrival of Calandra, a ship operated by Israeli shipping line Zim.

The group blocked entry to Hutchison Ports’ Sydney terminal, disrupting landside truck entry zones and the flow of cargo. Protesters also blocked access along Foreshore Road for a short time.

“In the interests of the safety of port users, Hutchison Ports Australia worked with all authorities, including from NSW Ports and NSW Police, and there was a minimal impact to the business,” a Hutchison Ports spokesperson told DCN.

“Operations are back to normal,” they said (on Wednesday 22 November).

Container Transport Alliance Australia had cautioned following recent protests in Botany and Melbourne that the ship Calandra may be targeted in Australia.

The earlier protest in Port Botany on 11 November attempted to block the Zim vessel Contship Dax.

“The container logistics chain in Sydney is hurting,” CTAA wrote in a statement.

“The ultimate losers are the public through higher logistics costs, translating into higher pre-Christmas shelf prices during the cost-of-living crisis being felt by many Australians.

“Peaceful protests are fine, but blocking entrances to Port Botany terminals impacts directly on hard-working transport operators and their drivers who are just going about their lawful business to pick up the import cargoes and deliver the export cargoes that keep the NSW and Australian economies operating.”

On the other side of the Tasman, community protests are planned against “Israeli-connected container ships” at the Port of Auckland, according to the Maritime Union of New Zealand.

These delays come on top of significant continued disruption at DP World Australia’s Port Botany Terminal due to crippling ongoing protected industrial actions by its stevedoring workforce and the maritime union, combined with the aftermath of the major cyber-attack experienced by the company.

DP World have announced that members of the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU, MUA Division) have, despite continued efforts to reach an understanding, outlined a further series of work bans and stoppages up to and including Monday 4 December.

In the last 48 hours too, the Patrick Sydney Terminal has experienced operational difficulties, leading to significant truck queuing and truck turnaround times blowing out by as much as four hours.

All three international container terminals in Sydney … all with landside logistics delays and problems caused by external and internal factors. It’s a nightmare scenario leading into Christmas.

Transport operators are finding it extremely difficult to get the job done to meet the high demands of their import and export clients in such a poorly operating Port environment.

More night and weekend shifts will be necessary to try to play “catch-up” to clear the backlog.  But, this comes at a heavy operational price, leading transport operators to speak with their clients individually about the recovery of truck waiting times, futile trips, or general landside congestion surcharges.

Please contact your Fracht Team if you have any questions or concerns about the impact of these issues on your shipments.


Excerpts from:

  • The DCN / Ian Ackerman (14th November 2023). “Additional Industrial Action Announced at DP World in Wake of Cyberattack”
  • ABC News / Helena Burke and Jack Fisher (21st November 2023). "Police forcibly remove supporters after demonstration at Port Botany against ZIM container ship.”
  • Container Transport Alliance (21st November 2023). "Port Botany Protests, Strike Action, and Terminal Congestion - How to Bring a Supply Chain to its Knees."

Picture: ABC News / Jack Fisher

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