Shipping Australia condemns the waterfront industrial action that has caused such severe disruption that liner shipping companies are increasingly being forced to reduce their services to and from Australia.
News has come that the increasing disruption has forced a shipping line to stop taking bookings so as to avoid the long idling of containers and to minimize uncertainty for customers’ supply chain management.
Even if the Fair Work Commission were to come to a speedy decision on the current application by Patrick Terminals to terminate the industrial action, there will weeks or months before normal service could resume.
Shipping Australia CEO Rod Nairn commented: “Australian businesses and consumers will soon feel the pinch of waterfront industrial action as international shipping lines stop loading imports destined for Australia. At least three shipping lines have now suspended taking orders for Australian-bound cargo and two others have restricted order volumes to-and-from Sydney.
“The union’s restrictions on work at Australia’s major container terminals are already undermining our farmers’ ability to sell their products overseas in an effort to recover from years of drought and last year’s bushfires. Very soon every Australian will feel the impacts when they can’t get their usual supplies from their shops.
“At a time when global and national economies are reeling, at a time when Australians are being forced out of work, at a time when many people are struggling to find the money to keep a roof over their head and food on their plate, it is contemptible that the maritime union is crippling our waterfront and doing what the pandemic could not to destroy Australians’ livelihoods.
“Clearly this is a crisis for Australia’s economy which relies 99 per cent on sea freight. It really is time to recognize the essential nature of container trade and regulate to classify it as an essential service.”