Peak body Road Freight NSW (RFNSW) is calling on the organisers of a planned protest at Port Botany this Saturday (November 11) to ensure that trucking operators can continue to “just do their job” and deliver and pick-up cargo from the terminals throughout the day.
RFNSW CEO Simon O’Hara said members have raised concerns that the anti-Israel protest hosted by the Trade Unionists for Palestine, would disrupt freight operations and impact supply chains in the lead-up to the busy Christmas delivery period.
On Wednesday, police were called-in when demonstrators targeting ZIM, an Israeli cargo shipping company, blocked the road outside the Port of Melbourne.
A pro-Palestine protest yesterday afternoon by around 300 people forced Israeli shipping line #ZIM to reschedule the arrival of a cargo ship into the Port of Melbourne#PalestineProtest #GazaUnderAttack #GazaGenocide https://t.co/flfrNyG3zJ
— Socialist Equality Party (Australia) (@SEP_Australia) November 9, 2023
“Whilst we support free speech and the democratic right to protest, we think it’s really unfair that truckies are caught in the middle of these demonstrations,” O’Hara said.
“After all, they’re just trying to do their job, working on a Saturday, driving in and out of the port to keep freight moving. Any type of blockade at Port Botany, like we saw happen in Melbourne this week, will only hurt NSW trucking operators – disrupting crucial deliveries and supply chains across Sydney and the whole state.
“The protest may be aimed at ZIM, but it’s our hard-working members who will be suffering, through no fault of their own.
“We whole-heartedly agree with the NSW Premier Chris Minns who said: “Living in a free country doesn’t mean that you can walk down to the port and stop lawful trade between Australia and its trading partners around the world”.
“Our RFNSW members are already bracing themselves for a price increase of over 38 per cent in port access surcharges in the new year. The last thing they need now is another disruption to their operations. Any blockade of access roads at the port will have significant implications for truckies and their customers across the community.”