THREE ro-ro vessels have bypassed Fremantle in recent days because of industrial action at the port.

On Friday, the Wallenius Wilhelmsen ship Morning Prosperity sailed from Victoria Quay after spending one day in the Inner Harbour. It was unable to unload due to a refusal by stevedores to work the vessel.

Work on the vessel was sub-contracted to Linx Cargo Care Group. It was originally scheduled to be worked by Qube Ports. However, Qube’s Fremantle operations have been hampered by MUA industrial action, which has been ongoing since 30 July. DCN understands employees from Linx refused to work the vessel even though they are not part of the industrial action at Qube.

Two other Wallenius Wilhelmsen ro-ro ships, the Tamesis and Tamerlane – which had been waiting in Gage Roads to enter port – departed over the weekend without unloading their cargo. Tamesis is calling Adelaide to discharge its cargo and Tamerlane is to call Melbourne.

In a statement, Wallenius Wilhelmsen confirmed that due to the ongoing industrial dispute between Qube and the MUA at Fremantle three vessels were redirected to other ports in Australia.

“This is despite our engaging Linx Cargo Care’s stevedoring services at Fremantle. Our focus remains on minimising any supply chain disruptions to our customers,” the company said.

“We continue to believe that these actions are disruptive to not only us and trade into the Port of Fremantle, but to the people and businesses in Western Australia who depend on the cargo that our vessels are carrying.

“Wallenius Wilhelmsen has served the Australian market continuously since 1895 and is highly committed to providing a healthy and safe working environment for our teams, suppliers and customers.”

Fremantle Ports CEO Michael Parker said the new development of ships bypassing Fremantle was concerning for local trade and risked reduced confidence among shipping lines in the port.

“We’re extremely disappointed that a major customer of ours and numerous importers and exporters have been caught up in the latest round of industrial action to hit out wharves, particularly given existing global supply chain congestion,” Mr Parker said.

The Port of Fremantle is Western Australia’s main gateway for motor vehicles and large break-bulk cargo which does not fit in containers, such as large machinery and equipment bound for construction, mining and farming users.

Mr Parker said while industrial action at ports was occurring across Australia, the situation in Fremantle was of concern. Aside from break-bulk cargo, the handling of essential bulk products and the scheduling of container shipping was also being impacted, he said.

Fremantle handles 30.4 million tonnes of trade per year, worth $31.3 billion. Last year, the port handled 1523 ships at the Inner Harbour and Outer Harbour.

Ro-ro vessels deliver cargo such as essential mining equipment, farming machinery, cars, trucks and other vehicles to Fremantle.

The MUA did not respond to a request for comment for this article.