NSW Ports’ CEO Marika Calfas has issued a statement confirming the full operation of ports in Sydney and Port Kembla and the impacts of COVID-19 on business and trade.

“Both ports are open and operating, handling imports and exports to keep our supply chains moving. Port Botany and Port Kembla remain open and operating 24/7,” Ms Calfas said.

NSW Ports’ intermodal hubs at Enfield and Cooks River also remain operating normally.

Processes have been implemented at the ports to “protect the safety and wellbeing of port workers and the wider community”.

NSW Ports has implemented its own business continuity plan and have structured its working arrangements so that its operations can continue.

During this period:

  • port security and port security officers remain in place.
  • common user berth operations continue.
  • maintenance of all essential infrastructure will be actioned under the normal preventative maintenance schedule.
  • NSW Ports contractors will attend to maintenance callouts as required.
  • all regular contacts within NSW Ports will continue as usual via email, phone, or video.

Impact on trade
While New South Wales’ overall container import volumes over the past two years have been impacted by softer economic conditions and the impact of drought conditions, throughout February and March this year, NSW Ports has seen disruptions to its usual trade flows as a result of actions taken globally and domestically to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The implementation of COVID-19 quarantine actions in China, commencing in late January, resulted in significant disruption to international supply chains. Given China is an important trade partner accounting for nearly 40% of all containerised imports through Port Botany, this resulted in a reduction in vessels calling from North East Asia during this period and delays in freight receivals.

However, now that manufacturing in China is resuming and Chinese ports are returning to regular operations, NSW Ports hasseen a return to more regular vessel callings from this region.

“Container ships are arriving regularly at Port Botany, carrying supplies including food, beverages, retail and construction goods and manufactured items,” Ms Calfas said.

“Bulk liquid imports of petrol, LPG and chemicals have continued to flow throughout this period, with minimal disruption – last week we saw the arrival of a bulk shipment of Acetone, a key component of hand sanitiser.”

At Port Kembla, imports of cars, construction materials and other bulk goods continue.

“Keeping our ports and supply chains operational is essential to continue the flow of goods to support NSW and Australia. We will continue to work together with all parties to ensure the safe operation of these essential services,” Ms Calfas said.