THE VICTORIAN government is allocating 10,000 rapid antigen tests from its supply to be provided at-cost to the ports sector and landside operators that support ports.

In a freight industry update, Victorian ports and freight minister Melissa Horne said the allocation is part of the government’s first major delivery of 3 million RATs from a bulk order of 44 million.

Container Transport Alliance Australia director Neil Chambers welcomed the Victorian government’s initiative.

“[We applaud] the government’s willingness to support container logistics as a critical sector of the Victorian economy in keeping freight flowing through the Port of Melbourne under very challenging operational circumstances,” he said.

“The self-administered RAT kits are being allocated on a weekly basis by the Victorian government, and CTAA is working with the government and its members to ensure that orders are placed by companies for their forecast need in the forthcoming week.”

Mr Chambers said this approach would allow companies to alleviate some of the severe labour shortages by being able to meet the RAT testing frequencies required to bring asymptomatic workers who are close contacts of positive COVID cases (in the home) back to work safely.

“We’ve hope that other state governments such as NSW and QLD will work closely with the container logistics sector to also offer the availability of government RAT stocks while community sources of RAT kits are scarce.”