Sydney empty container logistics talks bear fruit

Stevedore takes action to smooth interface with trucks

Sydney empty container logistics talks bear fruit
An RFNSW image of talks underway


A recent collaboration between Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA) and Road Freight NSW has seen talks gain traction on empty container park logistics, the proponents report.

The meetings brought together container transport logistics operators and empty container depot operators in Sydney for constructive discussions on pressing empty container management issues.

"They were supported strongly by NSW Ports and empty container management technology provider Containerchain," the groups say.

Stakeholders met with Qube Logistics and with DP World Logistics (DPWL) to discuss the operations of the two largest empty container depots in Sydney – Qube/MCS Cooks River and DPWL Parks 1 & 2, Port Botany.

CTAA director Neil Chambers observes that "the costs of empty container management in Sydney have been increasing and chain efficiencies have been lacklustre for a range of reasons".

The meetings discussed:

  • empty container management capacity in Sydney – now and future needs
  • empty container depot opening hours
  • truck arrival patterns / adhering to notification windows / early and late truck arrival penalties
  • redirections – providing adequate notice and honouring existing valid Containerchain truck arrival notifications
  • working together to approach individual shipping lines who are still not providing electronic data interchange
  • export container availability visibility
  • implementing Containerchain’s "eGate" functionality in Sydney to provide greater visibility of truck arrivals / gate processing times / truck servicing times.

"We were really pleased with the candid and collaborative exchanges between the transport operators and empty depots." Chambers says.

"It is proof that industry stakeholders can effect change through mature dialogue and the appreciation of each other’s needs."

Read of the issues seen as threatening efficient Sydney container logistics, here

Road Freight NSW CEO Simon O’Hara echoes the positive sentiment.

"Container transport operators are significant customers of the empty depots, paying considerably for Containerchain fees to do business with the depots," O’Hara says.

"It was refreshing that this is recognised by the depots and by Containerchain itself."

"There are issues that transport operators and depots need to tackle together."

The critical issues nominated include:

  • a coordinated approach to shipping lines to provide 100 per cent electronic information exchange on empty container destinations
  • adequate notice on empty container redirections
  • shipping lines considering the extension of container detention deadlines where external factors such as brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) fumigation cause delays in the landside logistics chain.

"It’s clear from these initial meetings that we will be able to work collaboratively as a powerful combined force to approach shipping lines to achieve positive change."

Following the meetings, DPWL in Port Botany has acted to implement the following operational changes:

  • implemented "rolling" three-hour truck arrival notification window slot availability to better smooth truck bookings and arrivals
  • honoured existing truck arrival notifications within a 24-hour period of a redirection being issued
  • to trial import de-hire capacity during the night-shift period of 10pm- 5pm at Park 1, Port Botany (in addition to export empty pickups)
  • continue to work with transport operators to facilitate ad-hoc additional notifications where possible, and to accommodate after hours’ bulk-runs where volumes are sufficient.

A response from the stevedore has been sought.

"CTAA and Road Freight NSW will liaise closely with DPW Logistics to measure the success of these initiatives over the next few months." Chambers says.

"This is the start of a new chapter in NSW to address empty container management issues at the industry level with a view to improving productivity, efficiency and cost effectiveness."


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