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CTAA takes issue with Port Botany blitz presentation

Letter to the editor points to disconnect between statistics and tone


In a letter to the editor, Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA) highlights a disparity between the percentage of infringements from the recent Port Botany compliance operation and how they are presented.

The latest in a series of multimodal operations – this one involving Australian Border Force (ABF), NSW Police, Transport for NSW (TfNSW) and the Department of Home Affairs – moved to Sydney on May 18.

TfNSW notes 28 defect notices were issued from 146 vehicle checks but no breakdown is given.

Authorities, in NSW and elsewhere, report non-compliance result announcements regularly without offering details.

Read about the Port Botany intermodal operation, here

However, through the latter half of the last decade, NSW authorities often would acknowledge that non-compliance rates reflected very a small minority within the industry but insist such operations were needed to keep the pressure on that cohort.

There was no such observation related to the latest blitz.

The CTAA letter is as follows:

Dear Sir,

Your story on the recent regulatory blitz in Port Botany (Truck infringements the main outcome from joint operation – May 24, 2021) highlights the need for continuous safety vigilance.  Yet unfortunately, it doesn’t give credit to the container transport industry in Port Botany as is likely deserved.

It is reported that Transport for NSW and other agencies conducted 146 vehicle inspections during the safety campaign, from which 28 defect notices issued, four drivers (out of 146) were issued with infringement notices and only two vehicles were found to be in breach of mass limits. 

That means that less than 3% of the drivers were issued with any on-the-spot penalties, and only slightly more than 1% of the vehicles were found to be overloaded.

Of the 28 defect notices issued, how many were for serious vehicle defects with real safety implications?

The regulatory authorities unfortunately seem reluctant to publish those statistics. Also, the story mentions that drug and alcohol tests were conducted, but there were no reported cases of positive results among any drivers tested.

On those numbers, we would have thought that it’s a pretty good compliance outcome, and the authorities should be acknowledging that.

Instead, it’s reported more in the negative … continuing the stigma attaching to heavy vehicle operations in the eyes of many.

In the absence of any positive reinforcement from the authorities, we’ll say it … “well done to container transport operators in Port Botany for demonstrating overwhelming compliance with heavy vehicle safety laws!”

Kind regards,    

Neil Chambers


Container Transport Alliance Australia


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