TECHNOLOGICAL glitches and vessel delays due to bad Sydney weather are understood to have caused delays for Melbourne container transport operators during the past week.
Patrick Terminals reportedly had technology issues when transitioning to an upgraded terminal management system at East Swanson, resulting in truck turnaround delays.
Container Transport Alliance Australia director Neil Chambers said Patrick Terminals staff in Melbourne worked hard to rectify the issues.
“However, the delays last week caused huge added expense to container transport operators, who have needed to allocate more vehicles and resources to the backlog of containers to pick up and deliver to East Swanson Terminal,” Mr Chambers said.
“Also, while Patrick has rightly waived any no-show and wrong time zone penalties for last week, many transport operators copped penalties from the other stevedore terminals and other parts of the logistics chain because trucks delayed at Patrick couldn’t make their subsequent timeslots at other facilities.”
Mr Chambers said Victoria International Container Terminal was dealing with ship bunching due to weather-related vessel delays in Sydney.
“This led to a paucity of vehicle booking system slots as import containers and export receivals into VICT built up,” he said.
“Again, this creates added delays and landside transport pressures that come at a large cost.”
A spokesperson for VICT confirmed their vessel schedule had been impacted by the Sydney weather.
“With this in mind, VICT will extend their landside operating hours this coming weekend,” the spokesperson said.
“VICT will be run a full day and night shift this Sunday 29th September. Therefore the terminal will remain open until 14:00 hours on Saturday 5th October.”
Mr Chambers said “to top it all off” DPWA Melbourne was experiencing its own delays at West Swanson.
DPWA chief operating officer Andrew Adam confirmed a four-hour outage to upgrade IT operations at West Swanson on Sunday 22 September.
“Those affected were given three days notice to allow them to accommodate for the upgrade, including the opportunity to raise and discuss any issues with management,” Mr Adam said.
“To further minimise impact, slots were moved into other zones and stack runs planned over this period were adjusted,” he said.
“As these upgrades can do, the planned outage exceeded the scheduled time by 45 minutes and this was duly communicated to all parties.”
Mr Chambers said the situation in Melbourne had led to a “perfect storm” with the transport sector having to deal with cargo backlogs in a short week thanks to the AFL Grand Final Public Holiday this Friday.
“Freight forwarders and shippers need to understand the difficulties that their transport providers have been subjected to last week and this week,” Mr Chambers said.