The comments by Shipping Australia’s CEO Melwyn Noronha (SAL takes aim at issues raised in stevedore report – 8 November) about the container road transport sector can’t go unchallenged.

Responding to the findings of the ACCC’s Container Stevedoring Monitoring Report 2020-21, Mr Noronha is reported to have made sweeping statements that “Ships work 24/7, trucks don’t. They don’t work weekends. They don’t work evenings. They don’t work public holidays. The mismatch doesn’t work – these problems must be solved.”

CTAA would invite Mr Noronha to come down to a night shift or weekend shift at any one of dozens of container transport companies in any capital city container port in Australia to witness for himself how wrong his perceptions really are of the transport industry.

Generally, the top twenty-five road transport companies in each Australian container port carry approx. 80% of the TEUs through those ports, and almost universally they operate night shifts and on weekends.

As demonstrated through many landside container logistics studies, including the most recent published this year in the Port of Melbourne, without the efforts of road transport operators to clear import containers day and night, stage full imports and exports through transport yards, and deliver export containers into terminals relatively close to vessel loading schedules, Australia’s container terminals would be in gridlock constantly.

Also, ships may come and go on a 24-hour basis, but the same can’t be said for the offices of the container shipping lines servicing Australian trades.

Try calling a shipping line after 5pm Monday to Friday or one weekends to fix a problem or seek a timely release of an Electronic Delivery Order, or get authorisation for an empty container return redirection. And not all shipping line contracted empty container parks across all ports are open during night shift or over weekends.

It’s easy to cast stones from glass houses in Woolloomooloo. However, I suggest Mr Noronha take up the offer to step out one stary night in Port Botany, or Melbourne, or Brisbane, or Adelaide or Fremantle and experience the real world of hard-working container transport operators acting as the glue that keeps container logistics chains functioning in this nation – CTAA would be happy to arrange that.

Kind regards,
Neil Chambers
Director, Container Transport Alliance Australia