With the NSW economy to suffer an estimated $2bn hit from the two-week Covid lockdown, Road Freight NSW (RFNSW) is urging Patrick and the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) to end their escalating port dispute in an effort to avoid further congestion and disruptions across local supply chains.
The industrial dispute has led to the cancellation of several rail freight windows to Port Botany through June-July, resulting in containers unloaded at already-congested suburban intermodal freight depots and then placed on to trucks for transport to the wharf.
RFNSW warns the dispute is hurting transport operators, many of them small, family-run businesses, now facing increasing operational delays and logistics costs, as they work to move freight across disrupted supply chains.
“We are extremely concerned about the widespread economic ramifications of this dispute if it continues to drag-on, not only for the transport industry, but for the entire NSW economy,” RFNSW chief executive, Simon O’Hara, said today.
“Over the past 18 months, RFNSW members have experienced chronic congestion at empty container parks (ECP) across Sydney. But with freight now being unloaded at suburban intermodals and ECPs for secondary transportation to the port, we’re worried it’s only going to get worse with alarming container levels and a return to gridlock conditions, crippling their day-to-day operations.”
“We’re calling on Patrick and the MUA to resolve their differences and return to regular operations as a matter of urgency, for the sake of supply chain stakeholders and the wider NSW community.”
O’Hara said RFNSW is proud to see truckies back on the frontline during this two-week Covid-lockdown, delivering essential food and grocery supplies in often challenging circumstances.
“Which is why they don’t deserve to be hit with further delays and costs in their daily operations,” he said.
“They also need to be better protected against Covid-19 and RFNSW is again calling for frontline transport workers to be given priority access to Covid-19 vaccines, to manage outbreaks of the virus across the country.”