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Important Shipping Update

Container Transport Logistics Straining Under COVID Pressures

Pressure on the freight sector continues to intensify as staff shortages disrupt national supply lines, leaving customers in the lurch. The rapid spread of the Omicron variant has been eroding Australian supply chains as many freight and transport workers had been forced into self-isolation by COVID regulations.

Testing and isolation measures are changing for freight workers across some states, including Queensland and NSW, following a national cabinet decision to scrap regular testing for truck drivers. The decision was driven by the need to keep food supplies moving, but several new and lingering challenges are threatening to carry the chaos into the coming weeks.

For example, rapid antigen testing requirements are vital to keeping freight and transport staff at work in Victoria, but there are reportedly not enough tests available to sustain this mandate.  “There’s no supply,” says Container Transport Alliance Australia director Neil Chambers. “They’ve made a public health order from a government point of view that the employer can’t abide by because the RAT tests aren’t available. “We’ve been caught short again during this pandemic on a lack of planning.”

In the last week a number of major carriers and warehouses in Australia have introduced separate COVID Levies, Business Continuity Fees or standard General Rate Increases to help offset the increasing costs of doing business under the strain of the Omicron variant. So far these Levies have come in the form of a flat fee per container or a % surcharge on top of the base transport rate.

Any affected customers will be notified as updates come through and we will continue to engage with industry to keep these costs increases at a minimum wherever possible

VICT & Patricks Terminal Fee Increases

Not immune to the pressures that a reduced workforce has placed on business, terminals VICT and Patricks have announced upcoming tariff increases on inbound and outbound containers.

From the 1st February, VICT will implement a “Temporary COVID recovery tariff of $3.97 (subject to GST) per container”. Patricks Terminals have announced a 20% increase to their Infrastructure fees from the 7th March at all terminals across Australia.

Singapore Terminal Breaks Container Handling Record in 2021

With a definitive increase on the previous year, Singapore’s port operator PSA has recorded container throughput of 91.5 million TEU at its 50 locations globally from January-December 2021. The group’s volume increased by 5.6% over 2020, with flagship PSA Singapore contributing a record 37.2 million TEUs (+1.6%) and PSA terminals outside Singapore handling 54.3 million TEUs (+8.4%).

Tan Chong Meng, Group CEO of PSA, said, “The world in 2021 continued on its roller-coaster ride with widespread supply chain disruptions and congestions coupled with sustained recovery in global trade and demand. “Despite the multiple hurdles posed by the global pandemic, PSA contributed to keeping supply chains safe and open for our customers, partners and stakeholders worldwide.” “Looking ahead in 2022, supply chain issues are expected to remain but there are also opportunities in the crisis — our continued relevance will depend on our ability to seize them.”

Mr Meng said the company will continue to seek win-win partnerships and innovate beyond port operations and contribute to more sustainable supply chains.

Record container throughput in 2021: Singapore port

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