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Sydney's container congestion sparks anger all round Down Under

SYDNEY's pile up of empties, sorely needed in China ports if liners would only take them there, are causing massive congestion in Botany Bay, reports Brisbane's Australasian Transport News

15 September 2020 - 19:00

SYDNEY's pile up of empties, sorely needed in China ports if liners would only take them there, are causing massive congestion in Botany Bay, reports Brisbane's Australasian Transport News.

Most container parks are at full capacity, while several closed to import de-hires. Thus container management has reached a crisis point, says Container Transport Alliance Australia (CT).



'There's an imbalance of over 30,000 TEU since April of imported containers compared to containers exported through Port Botany,' said CT director Neil Chambers.



'That's over 30,000 TEU in the container logistics chain in NSW [New South Wales] that otherwise should have been re-shipped or re-used, but instead are piling up in container parks and transport yards,' he said.



CT claims of delays and congestion are questioning the container detention policies of the major shipping lines.



'Most shipping lines calculate the detention free-time from when the container is discharged from the vessel, which may not correspond to when the container is actually available,' said Mr Chambers.



All of which resulted in much anger at news that the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) is to levy a congestion surcharge of US$300 per TEU on all boxes going in or out.



Anger mounted when less than a week later French shippihg giant CMA CGM piled on with a US$285 per TEU Emergency Port Congestion Surcharge for cargo in or out of Sydney.



Shipping lines also decry waterfront industrial disruption by dockers of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) industrial action is also impacting on container logistics.



The most obvious spark for the MSC move is the MUA's protected industrial action against stevedore Patrick in Sydney but part of a national wage action.



The charge comes into effect for US import and export containers on October 8. For other regions, the charge came into affect on September 14.



This comes as stevedore Hong Kong's Hutchison Ports raises its unregulated container access charges (CACs) from $63.11 to $88.83.



After Container Transport Alliance Australia (CT) raised the alarm on chaos affecting Sydney empties and called for more flexibility from international shipping on charges facing those trying to deal with container use and transport.


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