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Port recovery following Industrial Action – update

The Sydney stevedore operators are working to recovery from the impacts of the Protected Industrial Action recently.

Patrick today, are reporting national delays of up to 21 days for Sydney, 7 Days Melbourne and 4 Days Brisbane.

DP World are reporting delays in Sydney of 3-5 days.

Patrick, as of today have 21 vessels waiting to book berths with ca. 50,000 containers behind schedule.  

Shipping lines have four current changes in vessel schedules with no new omissions announced in the past week.

The shipping lines continue to discharge containers in Melbourne, Brisbane and New Zealand. Transhipment of containers to Port Botany can impact the container reaching Sydney by 3-4 weeks currently. Your Key Account Manager will work through alternatives to avoid this delay for you to assess.

NSW Ports have published a detail update in the below link:


An Industry engagement session was held today with Patrick, DP World and Hutchison in attendance to discuss the industrial action. 

During the session, the stevedores shared insights to the industrial action impact and recovery. 

Below are notable insights from the session:

  • Enterprise Bargaining Agreements (EBA)were in negotiation with all 3 terminal operators at the same time.  This has not happened previously and the impact being the stevedores would not assist each other during times of industrial action as done previously. 
  • Patrick have one EBA nationally, impacting all operations and was the key driver for the national application to the Fair Works Commission.
  • DP World have four EBA’s which allowed them to make an application to the Fair Work Commission for Sydney port only.

We continue to monitor and manage each container for you and analyse alternatives through your Key Account Managers.

Empty Container Crisis

The management of empty container in Sydney remains at a crisis level. With empty parks still full, our transport yards are still holding large volumes of empty containers while the shipping lines continue to plan the removal of empty containers allowing for the de-hire of the increasing number of empty containers in Sydney.

Friday 9 October 2020, our industry bodies Road Freight NSW and IFCBAA met with the Attorney General Mr Mark Speakman to update on the crisis and seek intervention with the shipping lines to remove empty containers from Sydney as a priority.

The details of the intervention are not yet published.  

The stevedores are engaging with shipping lines to accommodate vessels to evacuate empty containers. We need to be aware; this will affect the full vessels due to discharge Sydney, further disrupting their schedules and port rotations for a period. 

The stevedores have offered increases of exchanges of import for export container per vessel.  An example is DP World increasing from 1200 TEU to 1500 TEU of which c: 90% are empty containers. This agreement impacts the berth delays by 1-2 days.

We expect action to come from the shipping lines to plan empty container vessels with influence from the Attorney General.  While additional space for 800 TEU was made available Thursday 8 October 2020, the forecast is for this additional capacity to be full by close of business today or Tuesday.

Your Key Account Manager will keep you informed as we all progress through this recover period.

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