Sydney Port reaches breaking point

Due to a combination of factors including industrial action, there is heavy congestion at Sydney terminals. This congestion has led to significant delays to vessel schedules causing an increase in overall operational costs. 

Industry body Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA) has said that shipping lines want and need to reposition empty containers out of Port Botany. There is a reported shortage of empty containers in Asia to fill their export needs. However, shipping lines haven't been able to evacuate the number of empties necessary to alleviate the severe congestion.

One analysis shows an imbalance of over 30,000 TEU since April of imported containers (full and empty) compared to containers exported (full or empty) through Port Botany. That is over 30,000 TEU in the container logistics chain in NSW that otherwise should have been re-shipped or re-used, but instead are piling up in empty container parks and transport yards. The flow-on impact to the logistics chain is significant, with import empties unable to be de-hired, empties being staged through transport yards and held until they can be dealt with, and a massive increase in the re-direction notices for empty containers that add to transport costs and creates an administrative nightmare for transport operators. 

Shipping lines need to schedule larger empty stack-runs out of empty container parks to alleviate the congestion as a matter of urgency. Several shipping lines have advised customers that a port congestion surcharge of approximately $300 USD per 20' container and $600 USD per 40' container (for both standard and reefer) will be introduced for all containers arriving/departing Sydney effective this week. There have also been carriers who are omitting Sydney and discharge containers in other Australian ports, which requires an additional relocation charge for the end consignee.

BDP Australia is in daily contact with our customers impacted by the Sydney port congestion and are working to mitigate the situation in the most efficient and cost effective manner. Should you have any questions regarding your shipments, please reach out to your local BDP representative.