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The Maritime Union Authority and Patrick Terminals are once again at locker heads over certain clauses in their Enterprise Agreement. During October the MUA issued 40 notices of industrial action for Patrick Terminal in Melbourne alone which included proposed 12 hours of stoppages every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday throughout October. Thankfully with Covid impacting operations at Melbourne terminal, many of these planned stoppages were retracted.
On October 26th it was reported that Patrick applied to terminal the Enterprise Agreements with the MUA citing the agreement was no longer fit for purpose as it contained several operational restrictions that limited the ability of Patrick to meet customer requirements. Patrick proceeded to lodge an application with the Fair Works Commission which is scheduled to be heard on the 2nd November.
Ongoing MUA action has been announced by the MUA with 4 hour stoppages through from Tuesday 9th November to Friday 12th November in Brisbane and bans on performance upgrades and stoppages in Fremantle commencing 6th November.
Delays at Patricks alone are increasing as the MUA matters continue to cause havoc on arrivals into ports across the country. Vessels arriving are currently delayed according to Patricks from between 3-5 days in Sydney and up to 10 days in Melbourne.
Over in Fremantle not only are they experiencing delays due to industrial action but what industry calls ‘surges’ of vessel arrivals impacting landside operations. Fremantle are seeing high volume of vessels arriving at once which places considerable pressure on ports and transport operators to manage staff and equipment at certain periods of the week. This then disrupts planned deliveries to customers when efforts are being concentrated on wharf collections.
Not only are terminals being affected by possible Union action, but both VICT and DP World in Melbourne in the past month have had cases of COVID-19. At VICT these cases caused the terminal to shut down for 48 hours over one period.
Terminal Tariff Changes
Both DP World and VICT have provided 60-day industry notification of terminal charge adjustments effective 01/01/21.
VICT – Import Storage Charges / Late Receival / Maritime Security Levy / VBS Charges
DP World – Terminal Access Charges (import & export) / VBS Charges / Sideloader Access Fee
At DP World fees will increase from approx. 4% on import Terminal Access Fees to over 18% on its export Terminal Access charge.
These changes will be reflected in charges at the terminal which will be passed on through our landside wharf carriers.
Our industry advocates continue to question both state and federal government on rising costs and the impacts on importers and exports.
Antwerp and Rotterdam continue to face challenges in berth waiting time, labour shortages and high terminal density. The dwell times of import containers continues blocking terminal yard space, caused by the shortage of truck drivers in The Netherlands.
Congestion and delays in the UK of approx. 2 weeks are mounting with productivity slow as volumes continue to rise through main ports. Trucker shortages are also being experienced with fewer workers being able to conduct long haul trips due to Brexit. Service providers are having to book inland haulage 3 to 4 weeks in advance of the vessel’s ETA to ensure they can achieve the required slot. Additional charges have been introduced to provide more guarantees called “Driver Retention Surcharges”, this then prevents the drivers from taking on a higher paying job and therefore abandoning the job.
Mediterranean ports still require a 4 to 6 week window to secure sailing schedules.
Europe to New Zealand bookings remain difficult. We continue to rely on MSC as one of the very few choices available. Hapag Lloyd, CMA and COSCO remain out of the equation. We await advice from Hamburg Sud when their booking suspension may be lifted.
China & South East Asia
There have been no GRI announcements of late.
- Shanghai: Heavy berth congestion, there are approximately 10 vessels lined up at the port. Vessels with large volumes of import reefer containers are facing longer berth waiting time of more than 7 days due to lack of reefer plugs.
- Shekou / Yantian: Vessel berth waiting time is around 5 days. The port and terminal services were recently severely impacted by 2 typhoons in 7 days causing a port closure for 3 days.
- Singapore: Vessel waiting time has been pushed out to 10 days. Priority is given to vessels calling for export containers to relieve the high terminal density problem.
West Coast USA terminal operations continue to experience port delays due to congestion issues. Some vessels are waiting up to 30 days to berth.
In light of these issues, the US West Coast – NZ – AU service has been adjusted as follows:
- Seattle to be omitted until further notice.
- Oakland call to be reinstated.
- Long Beach will be omitted fortnightly.
- Auckland will be omitted fortnightly.
- Sydney will be omitted fortnightly.
Note that all carriers participate on this service. It would be pertinent not to rely on this solely, however to also explore the possibility of shipping via East Coast USA or Asia.