Roozendaal delays paid waiting times at Port Botany


Paid waiting times for trucking operators pushed back until at least next year after NSW Government delays Port Botany reforms

Roozendaal delays paid waiting times at Port Botany
Roozendaal delays paid waiting times
By Brad Gardner and Rob McKay| November 17, 2010

Trucking operators using Port Botany will be denied paid waiting times until at least next year after the NSW Government decided to delay sweeping port reforms.

Ports and Waterways Minister Eric Roozendaal yesterday signed off on regulations under the Port Botany Landside Improvement Strategy (PBLIS), claiming he understands the "urgency" of getting the scheme in place. PBLIS is designed to improve the running of the port and includes financial penalties to force stevedores to reduce truck turnaround times.

Roozendaal says trucking companies will begin receiving compensation in early 2011 for time spent queuing, reneging on a government commitment earlier this year to introduce the initiative by the end of September this year.

"The main purpose of the regulations is to ensure fairness and equity between the stevedores and the truck carriers," Roozendaal says.

A spokesperson for Sydney Ports Corporation says the timeframe for paid waiting times has been delayed because rail access charges are being added to PBLIS.

"The roll-out will be staged and come into place progressively from December 2010 and through early 2011," the spokesperson says.

Under paid waiting times, stevedores will need to compensate trucking operators $25 for every 15 minute delay, $100 if a slot is cancelled within two hours of the agreed access time or $50 if the slot is cancelled outside the two-hour timeframe.

Trucking operators will pay $50 for a late arrival and $100 if their trucks do not show up.

If the Keneally Government had stuck to its promised timeframe, trucking operators would have been reimbursed for the costly delays they recently suffered at the DP World terminal.

The NSW branch of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA NSW) is now seeking compensation from DP World, claiming trucking operators have lost millions of dollars.

The trucking industry has long complained of delays at Port Botany, which have left operators exposed to fatigue management breaches and jeopardised delivery schedules.

DP World was criticised in June this year over truck turnaround times. It claimed the average turnaround time in June was 54.8 minutes – up from 43.9 minutes.

However, a respected port operator that spoke to ATN claimed the average turnaround time of his trucks using DP’s terminal was 79.6 minutes compared to 43.6 minutes at Patrick.

Statistics from the trucking company also show individual days where trucks were held up for more than two hours at a time.

Patrick unsuccessfully tried earlier this year to strike a deal with the trucking industry as an alternative to government regulation.

INDUSTRIES JOIN FORCES TO PRESSURE DP WORLD
Meanwhile, the container shipping lines have joined ATA NSW in calling for Roozendaal to intervene over problems surrounding DP World’s terminal.

Shipping Australia CEO Llew Russell questioned why the Government and the Sydney Ports Corporation had not held crisis talks.

ATA NSW manager Jill Lewis says DP World’s management of its terminal raises significant safety concerns and legal risks for the company.

"ATA NSW is aware of a number of cases where truck drivers have run out of hours while waiting in the queue at DP World. Truck drivers working standard [fatigue] hours are only allowed to work 12 hours a day," she says.

"In the old days, stevedores were not responsible for safety issues like these. But those days are gone, thanks to the chain of responsibility laws – a significant victory for our industry."

Lewis wants the Roads and Traffic Authority to investigate the stevedore for possible breaches of chain of responsibility, which requires DP World to prevent driver fatigue.

"As part of their responsibility, the law requires them to take reasonable steps to have pickup and delivery arrangements that do not contribute to fatigue," Lewis says.

DP World said yesterday it has curtailed ship operations to put in place immediate steps to clear the backlog created by problems with the recent terminal operating system upgrade.

Ship work is due to resume at 10pm today. The stevedore says it regrets the "significant impact this will have on vessels’ schedules" and that it will discuss possible alternatives directly with shipping lines.

DP World Australia Managing Director Ganesh Raj says problems with the terminal operating system have taken longer to resolve than expected.

Russell says the container lines had expected DP World’s decision but adds that Patrick will need four to five days notice to be able to handle additional ships.


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