She began by acknowledging the Gadigal People of the Eora Nation. The Gadigal are the traditional custodians of the land upon which the Luncheon venue, the Sydney Hyatt Regency, is built. Calfas also paid respect to elders past and present.
Unity in adversity
Noting the vital role of freight, ports and shipping this last year, Calfas warmed to her theme: we work best when we work together.
“Our industry works best when we are working together,” she told the assembled guests. “Soon after the start of COVID there was great collaboration between operators, shipping lines, port managers, shippers and government. As an industry, we were extremely resilient in the face of the uncertainty of COVID. We continued to effectively service the trade needs of the state”.
Window of opportunity
Calfas argued that the sector has a window of opportunity to pursue industry-supporting initiatives which were otherwise too difficult to pursue in the past. For instance, there have been temporary lifts on curfews for freight deliveries. There have also been approvals for higher stacking of empty containers at Port Botany. This window exists due to increased awareness and support from the public for the sector.
“There is an opportunity to convert these to permanent changes and expand initiatives to include other efficiency and productivity changes. I don’t think this window of opportunity will be open for too long as governments and people move on to other priorities and interest areas. So we must act on these now – and act together,” she told guests.
However, she warned that with recognition and support comes greater scrutiny of the sector. This scrutiny will require all parties in the industry to understand that what they do affects the broader population and economy. Accordingly, they must behave responsibly in their actions and work collaboratively to resolve issues.
We all grow together
Calfas noted a truth in logistics that the success of every supply-chain related business is linked to trade volumes. If exporters are disadvantaged now, then they may lose their business in the long term. Smaller export opportunities in the future will result. If importers lose confidence then import volumes will not grow to the extent which they otherwise would have done. Working together, however, will be beneficial.
“Open, transparent and mature discussions, together with a willingness to act and support will be far more effective to this common goal than creating division, destroying confidence, and damaging the reputation of segments of our industry from within,” she told guests.
An enviable position
In concluding her address, Calfas noted that the sector is in the “enviable” position this year of being able to consider its activities more strategically and to focus on long-term success.
She finished by expressing anticipation that the industry will work together “strongly” in next year. And, of, course, she wished the guests a very Merry Christmas!
NSW Ports in an associate member of Shipping Australia. It was the lead sponsor of the SAL NSW Christmas Luncheon. The event quite simply could not have gone ahead without their support and Shipping Australia would like to thank them and acknowledge their generosity.
Thank you, NSW Ports.