SAL takes aim at DP World over port problems

Shipping Australia Limited lambasts DP World over port delays, claiming truckers aren't the only ones being affected

SAL takes aim at DP World over port problems
Shippers take aim at DP World over port problems
By Rob McKay | November 10, 2010

DP World faced attack from a second front in Sydney today with peak container line body Shipping Australia Limited (SAL) lambasting the stevedore for lack of proper planning over its IT system changeover.

Comment from SAL comes as DP World battles to overcome problems with the Navis Sparc N4 terminal operating system, which was the subject of intense criticism from the NSW branch of the Australian Trucking Association yesterday.

After four days of disruption, ATA NSW warned today that waiting times for trucks to get into the port continue to span between two and five hours and times inside the terminal stretch between two and three hours.

It has called on DP World Sydney General Manager James Mather to close the terminal until the problem is fixed.

Haulage firms are concerned of the impact delays and uncertainty are having on driver-fatigue outcomes and have questioned what chain of responsibility obligations the stevedore might have under the circumstances.

SAL CEO Llew Russell was trenchant in his criticism of the stevedore’s performance.

"This week has seen serious delays again being experienced at DP World following the introduction of a new IT system which appears not to have been trialled in terms of parallel testing, and a question must be raised: why would a new computer system be introduced during the peak season for containers being imported through Sydney?" Russell says.

"More importantly this is the final straw in a long period of serious delays being experienced by our members at DP World container terminal at Port Botany."

Russell says DP World promised action in June this year to ease congestion by commissioning new cranes to improve the efficiency of lifting containers on and off vessels.

"Subsequently, Shipping Australia was assured that by the end of August many of the problems being experienced would be resolved, but regrettably the congestion has continued," he says.

Due to the delays, Russell claims shipping operators are incurring massive fuel bills because they need to speed up their vessels to try and return to regular sailing schedules.

"The extra fuel costs are simply not sustainable and the integrity of members services are being undermined much to the frustration and anger of all players in the supply chain," he says.

Russell is warning that members are compiling records of the costs imposed by delays with a view to pursuing DP World for compensation.

"One measure is the application of a congestion surcharge which, in my view, will undermine the reputation of Sydney ports internationally."

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