Truck turnaround times blow out amid Brisbane port dispute

brisbane port

Port of Brisbane operators are experiencing turnaround delays of up to five hours as an industrial dispute between on-site sparkies and stevedore DP World drags on.

DP World and the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) had been scheduled to meet on Friday to broker a deal, but the union failed to front, and the stevedore insisted that protected industrial actions (PIAs) be lifted before talks continue, according to Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA).

CTAA, the peak body for the sector, understands that the negotiations impact just 16 employees involved in electrical trades maintaining and repairing the terminal’s handling equipment, including the automatic stacking cranes (ASCs).

DP World has reportedly offered wage increases of 6, 4, 4 and 4.5 per cent over a four-year deal.

However, allegedly the ETU is hanging out for the same headline deal struck with the Maritime Union of Australia, including an 8 per cent increase in the first year, followed by 7, 4 and 4.5 per cent in subsequent years.

CTAA director Neil Chambers said the landside impacts of the breakdowns are extreme.

He said truck turnaround times have blown out to between 2-5 hours, with transport operators forced to allocate more labour, including over weekends and on nightshift at much higher operating costs, to try to keep up with the delayed freight demand through the terminal.

Conservatively, the delays are costing container transport operators more than 20 per cent extra in operating costs, including for truck waiting times, additional container handling and staging, and added labour costs.

Chambers added that driver fatigue management has also become an issue.

“Being stuck in the terminal for hours means that drivers run the risk of running out of regulated work time, unless they are able to “rest” by being out of the driver’s seat without the engine running while waiting to be serviced,” Chambers said.

“CTAA Alliance companies in Brisbane would be happy to put them [DP World] in a truck, on night shift, and have them sit with the driver for a few hours waiting to be loaded or unloaded.

“DP World also expects the transport industry to take up the full Vehicle Booking System slot allocation over weekends to try to clear the delayed containers in the Terminal.”

Chambers said DP World also has Chain of Responsibility (CoR) obligations as a “loading manager” in the transport chain.

“Their processes and procedures should not be contributing to drivers finding it difficult to manage their fatigue.”

“CTAA will be raising this issue with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) as it continues to consider CoR actions and responsibilities in the container transport logistics chain.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend