OCEANIC giant Maersk has blamed congestion and industrial action at Port Botany for its decision to omit Sydney from its schedule for the next two weeks.

As has been widely reported, a combination of industrial action, weather, and congestion around empty container parks have caused havoc for transport operators.

“Due to ongoing congestion and industrial action at Sydney port, Maersk has experienced disruption to our network schedule, causing significant delays from proforma schedule,” the company said in a statement to customers.

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“To remove uncertainty for our customers supply chain and to assist handling of our vessels calling Sydney, Maersk is taking the difficult decision to temporarily stop acceptance of all new bookings from Asia, Europe, Middle East, Africa and India Sub-Continent to Sydney effective immediately.”

According to Maersk, they expect to re-open booking acceptance for Sydney from 1 October, “but will continue to review the situation and open earlier if possible”.

Freight and Trade Alliance head of business operations John Park said the Maersk announcement increased the need for the Fair Work Commission to act decisively in helping end the dispute between the Maritime Union and DP World Australia.

“It is essential that stevedore operations return to full capacity immediately to allow our importers and exporters to maintain and reach their respective markets and support Australia’s economic recovery,” Mr Park said.

Road Freight New South Wales CEO Simon O’Hara has also called for government intervention.

“We have requested meetings with our political and bureaucratic leaders regarding the Port of Botany and we await their response,” Mr O’Hara said.

“The operation of empty container parks, protected industrial action and the lack of regulation driving productivity in key aspects of the port have all had an effect.”

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