CHANGES to tough restrictions on ships docking at Queensland ports appear to be working, according to industry.

A Maritime Safety Queensland condition preventing ships from docking in Queensland until they had spent 14 days away from their last port, in order to halt the spread of coronavirus, attracted criticism.

Notably, there was concern it would delay the provision of key imports during a time of crisis.

This was later changed to a “two-port policy” with different conditions for the ports of Brisbane and Townsville, the two key container ports, compared with the rest of the state.


Shipping Australia was particularly critical of the earlier MSQ policy but a spokesperson for the industry group indicated the revised policy was working reasonably well.

“The amendments are working in the context of shipping lines bringing in everyday goods for Queensland families into Brisbane,” the spokesperson said.

“We understand restrictions in respect of China are under review.”

Shipping Australia still has concerns about the impact of 14-day upon bulk trades to the 20 other Queensland ports and SAL deputy CEO Melwyn Noronha said consistency with national laws was vital.

“Freight and logistics are vital to Australia’s supply chain,” he said. “The port supply chain should be viewed as an essential service as governments assess further stages beyond the current shutdown measures.”