Sunday, September 13, 2020

We note this week-end's media release from the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack and Minister for Trade Simon Birmingham calling for 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.

This being what appears to be the root cause of existing operational issues including empty container park congestion, vessels by-passing Port Botany and massive shipping line surcharges (with inadequate notice or consultation) imposed on exporters and importers.


The timing of the Federal Government commentary is encouraging on the eve of further shipping line surcharge announcements that are likely to follow last weeks' lead by the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) and CMA CGM.

This coming week, Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA) and the Australian Peak Shippers Association (APSA) will be escalating our advocacy with industry stakeholders and NSW / Federal Ministers.

Tomorrow (Monday 14 September 2020) FTA / APSA will take next steps in our our media camapign through engagement with external advisory services.
Thank you for those members (and clients of freight forwarder members) who have come forward offering to detail the impacts of current operating environment at Port Botany. This will be most useful for integration into our ongoing media and advocacy campaigns.

Paul Zalai - Director and Co-Founder, FTA / Secretariat, APSA

10 Sept 2020 formal correspondence to the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) in terms of the introduction of their USD 300 congestion charge;

10 Sept 2020 - member notice 'FTA / APSA Advocacy - MSC Sydney Port Congestion Surcharge;

10 Sept 2020 - FTA / APSA called for a crisis meeting involving the of the Ministerial led 'NSW Freight & Logistics Advisory Council (FLAC)';

10 Sept 2020 - FTA / APSA media release 'Port Botany delivering a "Third World" service in the 21st Century' incorporating commentaries from members, the Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC) and Fletcher International Exports (FIE);

10 Sept 2020 - scheduled meeting with the Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management [15 September 2020];

11 Sept 2020 - formal correspondence to CMA CGM in terms of the introduction of their USD 300 congestion charge;

11 Sept 2020 - coverage in the Australian Financial Review [extract below] 'Waterfront industrial action causes gridlock in Sydney';

11 Sept 2020 - coverage in leading international trade media The Load Star 'Australia's crisis-hit shipping industry now providing a "third-world" service';

11 Sept 2020 - member notice 'Port Botany delivering a "Third World" service in the 21st Century; 

11 Sept 2020 - collaboration with an extended alliance of peak industry bodies including the Australian Steel Association and National Farmers Federation;

11 Sept 2020 - direct engagement with the Deputy Prime Minister; and

12 / 13 Sept 2020 - engagement on operational impacts of waterfront industrial relations to the Attorney General's Department and referral to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) seeking a 'fast-track' for shipping competition reform - refer HERE

AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW - Waterfront industrial action causes gridlock in Sydney



Freight & Trade Alliance chief executive Paul Zalai said the congestion surcharges would see grain exporters absorb an extra $17 per tonne of direct costs.
That kind of extra cost would make "product uncompetitive in a global market and [was] a devastating blow for an industry that already has locked in negotiated contracts with their overseas buyers", he warned.
Fletcher International Exports founder Roger Fletcher said airfreight restrictions meant sea freight was even more vital during the pandemic and called on the government to intervene.
"At a time when regional Australia's farmers have the chance to bounce back after years of crippling drought and devastating bushfires, they are being held over a barrel by a few hundred waterfront workers," he said.
"This should not and cannot be allowed to happen and for the government, it is time to act – no excuses!"