THE Container Transport Alliance Australia has again called for patience and understanding as landside logistics remain disrupted in the Port of Melbourne.

CTAA cites port protests, road construction delays and container terminal IT systems outages as compounding the pressures afflicting industry during the short weeks leading into and following Easter.

Victoria International Container Terminal at Webb Dock was again targeted by pro-Palestinian protesters on Friday evening [22 March] when three police officers were reported injured during violet scenes (see separate story).

A private Members’ Bill introduced into the Victorian Parliament on 7 March by the Shadow Minister for Ports and Freight, Roma Britnell, to define the Port of Melbourne as critical infrastructure and mandate its inclusion in the Victorian Critical Infrastructure Register, (DCN 11 March) was voted down on party lines.

CTAA director Neil Chambers noted there is now debate about whether Victoria should adopt similar laws to NSW requiring an application to be made to Police containing all relevant information about any protest, including the date, the time, the place, and the route for the protest.

Meanwhile, West Gate Tunnel Project construction works will continue to impede road transport operations through the Port of Melbourne in the coming weeks. The westbound carriageway of Footscray Road between Dock Link Road and Sims Street is closed over multiple nights from tonight [25 March] through to Monday, 8 April.  Sims Street Loop will also be closed. The West Gate Freeway (M1) between the West Gate Bridge and Grieve Parade, as well as the Princes Freeway between Kororoit Creek Road and the M80 interchange, continue to endure road construction closures.

“These combined disruptions are adding between 45 minutes to an hour truck travel time delays to/ from transport yards in Melbourne’s western industrial suburbs,” Mr Chambers said.

Compounding delays, IT maintenance and unplanned systems’ outages plagued all three international container terminals in the port last week and into this week.

“Container transport operators always try to meet their customers’ freight demands,” Mr Chambers said. “However, freight forwarders and importers / exporters need to appreciate the level of congestion and delays continuing to impact on road transport operations through the Port of Melbourne.”