VICTORIA International Container Terminal remained closed on Monday evening as protesters blocked access to Webb Dock.

A blockade began on Friday evening (19 January) as pro-Palestine protesters interfered with the unloading of a Zim containership.

A notice from VICT, circulated by the Container Transport Alliance Australia, said police were on site attempting to restore access to the terminal.

“Whilst operations are underway we are going to have to keep road operations closed until further notice,” it said.

The notice indicates VICT is planning to reassess the situation at 0800 on Tuesday morning.

The protest, organised by Trade Unionists for Palestine, has been targeting Zim Ganges. The vessel remained at anchorage on Monday evening.

This is not the first time protesters have gathered at ports to target the Israeli container line. Similar demonstrations occurred at the port of Melbourne and Port Botany late last year.

And on 21 December protesters blockaded the River Yarra under the West Gate Bridge, attempting to stop the Zim-chartered Vela. The ship berthed without incident at East Swanson Dock.

Protesters attempt to stop Zim-chartered Vela in December 2023. Image: Dale Crisp

“There’s actually been a sort of a tent presence at VICT ever since last year, people hanging about but not disrupting operations, but of course waiting for a Zim vessel to be serviced there,” CTAA director Neil Chambers said.

He said the blockade had been debilitating for port and landside operations.    

“The landside logistics impacts start to build up pretty quickly when you have these types of delays,” he said.

“We just hope it gets resolved – there’s four vessels impacted at the moment, but after the Australia Day long weekend there’s some fairly large vessels due into VICT.

“The longer this goes on the more pressure mounts.”