OPERATIONS of Sydney two largest empty container depots were the subject of a meeting between logistics companies and transport sector representatives last week.

Held on Thursday 28 March, the meeting involved Container Transport Alliance Australia Road Freight NSW together with Qube Logistics

The meetings were aimed at discussing operations of the Qube/MCS Cooks River depot and DP World Logistics Parks 1 & 2 at Port Botany.

The meetings were backed by NSW Ports and empty container management technology provider, Containerchain.

CTAA director, Neil Chambers observed said the meetings were timely given rising costs of empty container management in Sydney in recent years.

“We were really pleased with the candid and collaborative exchanges between the transport operators and empty depots,” Mr Chambers said.

“It is proof that industry stakeholders can effect change through mature dialogue and the appreciation of each other’s needs.”

Key themes from the event included:

  • Empty container management capacity in Sydney;
  • Empty container depot opening hours;
  • Truck arrival patterns / adhering to notification windows / early & late truck arrival penalties;
  • Redirections – providing adequate notice and honouring existing valid Containerchain truck arrival notifications;
  • Working together to approach shipping lines who are not providing electronic data interchange;
  • Export container availability visibility;
  • Implementing Containerchain’s eGate functionality in Sydney to provide greater visibility of truck arrivals / gate processing times / truck servicing times.

Road Freight NSW chief executive Simon O’Hara said container transport operators were significant customers of the empty depots and it was “refreshing that this is recognised by the depots”.

“There are issues that transport operators and depots need to tackle together,” Mr O’Hara said.

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Issues identified by RFNSW include:

  • A coordinated approach to shipping lines to provide 100% electronic information exchange;
  • Adequate notice on empty container redirections; and
  • Shipping lines considering the extension of container detention deadlines where external factors cause delays.

“It’s clear from these initial meetings that we will be able to work collaboratively as a powerful combined force to approach shipping lines to achieve positive change,” Mr O’Hara said.

According to CTAA and RFNSW, prior to the meetings, DPWL had acted to implement operational change:

  • From Monday, 1 April 2019, DPWL implemented rolling three-hour truck arrival notification window slot availability to smooth truck bookings and arrivals;
  • DPWL would honour existing truck arrival notifications within a 24-hour period of a redirection being issued; and
  • DPWL trialled import de-hire capacity during the night-shift period of 10pm to 5pm at Park 1, Port Botany (in addition to export empty pickups); and
  • DPWL to work with transport operators to facilitate ad-hoc additional notifications where possible, and accommodate after hours’ bulk-runs where volumes are sufficient.

 “CTAA and Road Freight NSW will liaise closely with DPW Logistics to measure the success of these initiatives over the next few months,” Mr Chambers said.  “This is the start of a new chapter in NSW to address empty container management issues at the industry level with a view to improving productivity, efficiency and cost effectiveness.”

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