SHIPS are bypassing Sydney in order to avoid congestion at Port Botany, industry sources say.

Freight and Trade Alliance and the Australian Peak Shippers Association issued a statement that “some shipping lines are now bypassing Sydney, limiting options to reach overseas markets for New South Wales exporters”.

According to FTA, these ships were discharging in Melbourne or Brisbane “with additional costs to be borne by importers to transport goods back to Sydney”.

Several examples have been noted, one being from ANL which issued a statement saying the Brotonne Bridge would omit Sydney to “mitigate delays from ongoing berth congestion and industrial action”.

In a statement to DCN, Shipping Australia said it was “aware that shipping companies have been forced to skip calling at container terminals in Sydney because of congestion caused by industrial action”.

“There have been instances of containers originally bound for Sydney that have been delivered to other ports,” a SAL spokesperson said.

“Re-locating these containers to their intended destination will only happen at great cost, inconvenience and delay to the end user.”

SAL has blamed the congestion on industrial action.

“Ships that do call at container terminals in Sydney may be restricted from undertaking full container exchange, again, at great cost, inconvenience and delay to the end user,” the spokesperson said.

“As the transport of freight is an essential service, we call for an end to this unnecessary, disruptive, and reckless industrial action during these particularly difficult times.”

VTA chief executive Peter Anderson says Melbourne has capacity to handle any additional freight task. Credit: David Sexton

Victorian Transport Association CEO Peter Anderson said with Stage 4 lockdown in Victoria essentially killing off traffic, Melbourne was well-placed to handle extra capacity from Sydney.

“The roads have never been less congested. There is an exceptional ability to manage increased volumes through Melbourne’s wharves and the road network, which is underutilised,” Mr Anderson said.

“The Port of Melbourne is open for business and stevedores and landside freight carriers welcome the extra trade and volumes when they appear.”