Further to our notice of industrial action at Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT) (Victoria International Container Terminal Hit By Industrial Action) VICT made a submission to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) for a suspension of industrial action by the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA). Their submission was successful and an interim order was issued suspending scheduled action. The order is effective until Mid-March when a further hearing at FWC will be held.
The order did not prevent action from proceeding on Friday and there were some impacts to landside activity as a result, however the above order will allow for continued movement through VICT terminal in the interim and until hearings are heard in March.
We will update as any further information on VICT comes to hand.
Please also note that Patrick the second largest terminal operator is still in negotiation with MUA on their employment agreement as is Hutchinson Terminal in Sydney. That does mean that at any given point protected industrial action can return to Australian terminals.
The impact of action at the end of last year is still being felt in terminals with backlogs still being worked through. This is causing continued delays to vessels berthing in terminal and capped container exchanges on vessels that is resulting in reduced loading of export containers and empty containers.
The flow on effect of reduced export loading is a major backlog in empty container parks resulting in empty import containers not always being able to be dehired. The only solution when container parks cannot accept de-hires is for our transport companies to hold the containers in their yards and this unfortunately may result in additional via yard and storage costs.
Our transport team will endeavour to report these issues as fast as possible however with the many different changes in vessel availabilities, terminal delays and late notice from container parks there may be some delay in providing these advices. We thank you for your understanding and patience during these ongoing challenges.