Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA) says the Port of Brisbane is experiencing empty container congestion, which is significantly hampering landside operations.
It notes a major Empty Container Park (ECP) provider is in ongoing rate negotiations with its shipping line clients at the port, and that significant empty import container de-hire volumes are being redirected to other ECPs that are near or at operational capacity.
The alliance adds that this has led to scarcity of truck arrival slot capacity and the need for the remaining ECPs in Brisbane to closely monitor capacity, truck slotting and truck arrival behaviour against slot bookings because these other ECPs are at or well over 80 per cent capacity.
This level of congestion causes additional costs for transport operators, who must stage more empties back through their yards, double handle boxes, store them longer in-yard, and spend longer administering the de-hire and export pickup processes.
If these added costs are passed on by transport operators to their forwarder and importer/exporter clients, then this simply makes imported goods more expensive for the end-customer and exported commodities less competitive in international markets unless the exporter absorbs the added costs, notes the CTAA.
The real danger exists, too, that the delays will lead to some import containers not being de-hired in the container detention “free time” allocated by the shipping lines. This causes fractious arguments between importers, their transport providers and shipping lines about who is responsible for container detention fees.
CTAA says it hopes the congestion is relatively short-lived, and that all ECP capacity in Brisbane is available again soon. It is also acknowledging that additional ECP capacity has been added into the Port of Brisbane operations through the opening of the Medlog facility on Fishermans Island.
The current situation highlights the need for the Queensland government, in collaboration with the Port of Brisbane and industry stakeholders to develop a more detailed set of independent landside container logistics performance indicators like those being published and refined in all the other major capacity city container ports such as Sydney, Melbourne, and Fremantle, notes CTAA.
The Victorian government has recently refined its Port Performance Monitoring Framework to include vital empty container management indicators and is embarking on a collaborative industry/government trial of paperless truck entry initiatives into its ECPs, it adds.
CTAA is calling on the Queensland government and the Port of Brisbane to investigate the development of similar performance indicators to compare landside container logistics productivity levels, and to work with industry on initiatives to improve the empty container management chain associated with the Port of Brisbane.
Source: MHD Supply Chain