Truckies warned of parking blitz at Port of Melbourne

Infringement officers will commence parking enforcement at the Port of Melbourne from Wednesday, May 1, warns the peak industry body for container transport operators.

Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA) said Port of Melbourne Operations has advised that City of Melbourne parking officers will issue infringement notices to vehicles and trailers parked in “contravention of existing parking sign directions”.

“Congestion from vehicle queuing and parking in non-designated areas on port roads has become an increasing concern and significantly impacts port efficiency,” according to the Port of Melbourne.

CTAA director Neil Chambers said CTAA is very concerned that the Port of Melbourne had no consultation with the broader container transport industry ahead of this announcement.

“We agree that congestion from vehicle queueing impacts on port efficiency. The inference in the port’s statement, however, is that the queuing is all the fault of truck drivers.

“Drivers don’t end up in the congested queuing situation because they’ve got nothing better to do. The cause of the queuing in many instances is due to operational congestion in port facilities that trucks are trying to access.”

CTAA has asked the Port of Melbourne when it will instigate discussions to address the underlying causes of trucks having to park up in the port precinct(s) due to delays at container terminals or other facilities in the port.

“In the longer-term, what strategies are being considered to treat heavy vehicle drivers with respect regarding where they can go in the port precinct(s) during times of delay and congestion?

“There is an urgent need for areas where truck drivers can park legally, have access to basic facilities like shade, shelter, toilet facilities, access to water, and the ability to manage their regulated work and rest times, etc.”

Chambers said the Port of Melbourne is the biggest container port in Australia, yet it is the only container port that doesn’t have a dedicated Truck Marshalling Area (TMA) where trucks can safely wait pending their next slot appointment or can be directed to access when there is congestion.

“The situation also highlights the inadequacy of the port’s road infrastructure. A prime example is the construction of Intermodal Way as a major thoroughfare for truck movements east and west in the Swanson Precinct following the closure of Coode Road.

“Coode Road had two lanes for through traffic each way and sufficient space for trucks to park in authorised areas or in a congested queuing situation.”

Coode Road has been replaced by Intermodal Way, which is one-way each way with no provision for trucks to pass. Westbound, it funnels trucks into Dock Link Road (south) which has a high volume of truck traffic entering DP World West Swanson Terminal and DP World Logistics Melbourne Logistics Park.

“A big question is whether the City of Melbourne parking infringement officers have been instructed to cruise up and down Intermodal Way to book drivers stopped in a queue or ask drivers to move on. Where are the truck drivers going to go and how are they supposed to safely move on?”

CTAA has recommended to all container transport operators to monitor the level of infringement notices being issued in this new “blitz” and challenge any circumstances where infringement notices are issued due to queuing caused by congestion beyond the control of drivers.

Big Rigs has approached Port of Melbourne for comment.

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