Carriers fed up by Port Botany delays 'crisis'

<font color=red><b>BOTANY BLUES:</b></font> Tensions between truckers and stevedores heat up after another week of delays

Carriers fed up by Port Botany delays 'crisis'
Carriers fed up by Port Botany delays 'crisis'
By Michael House | November 24, 2009

Tensions between the trucking lobby and stevedores have heated up following another week of delays at DP World’s terminal at Port Botany.

Wharf transporter and industry activist Mike Moylan says the situation has reached "crisis point".

Moylan, who chairs the Australian Trucking Association New South Wales branch's container committee, says issues of driver safety are at the forefront of the dispute and something must be done to stop stevedores doing what ever they please.

"This is about the fundamental and non-negotiable issue of the safety of our drivers and the broader community," Moylan says.

"Truck drivers cannot be expected to queue for five or six hours in sweltering heat and then operate a heavy vehicle to the limits of their legal working hours.

"Nor should the public be subject to negotiating their cars through huge truck queues 24 hours a day and on weekends.

"The risk to our drivers and the community is too great and cannot be tolerated any longer."

In what has already proved to a tumultuous week, Moylan says DP World only announced late yesterday evening that today would not be considered a day of availability due to a four-hour stop-work for the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) annual general meeting.

Moylan says while Patrick informed trucking operators sometime ago of its intentions to do the same, its rival only sent out an email at 5pm last night.

"Given the belated response this is just about worthless to most road carriers, as they have already made alternate arrangements to cover the MUA stoppage today and related storage. To let industry know at 17:02 the day before is totally useless," he says.

"It really highlights the lack of understanding of landside operations. Carriers have to book timeslots 48 hours out and schedule drivers and equipment and also make arrangements with clients."

The ATA-NSW says it is seeking a meeting with newly-minted Minister for Ports Paul McLeay as soon as possible to discuss the problems at the port.

"We will ask him [McLeay] to make the stevedores accountable for their actions by bringing in tough legislation that protects the people and assets of NSW," Moylan says.

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