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NSW Ports moves on container truck congestion

Gridlock at certain empty container parks raises precinct safety concerns, it says


Sydney container trucking faces bearing the brunt, especially if things go wrong, during NSW Ports’ efforts to deal with Port Botany road congestion.

Despite trucking industry warnings and then calls for action by authorities and the container chain to ameliorate the chaos, plus some recent efforts by NSW Ports, the port operator appears to have been forced to tackle the symptoms of the problem rather than the cause – due, it says, to safety issues.

Port users are told that anyone obstructing NSW Port authorised officers performing their functions, including giving or enforcing a direction under this Notice, faces a maximum penalty of 50 penalty units, being $5,500.

NSW Port notes that over the past several months the empty container parks (ECPs) in Sydney have faced high demand by carriers and customers for empty container de-hire.

This high demand has at times resulted in lengthy truck queues and ranks outside of the ECPs and on to port roads.

On a nearly daily basis, both Simblist and Friendship roads have accommodated truck queues and at times these ranks have not only caused serious congestion but have also created potential safety issues which must be addressed, NSW Ports points out.

“Despite requests by NSW Ports to ECPs to manage the throughput and demand for empty container de-hire trucks, the size of the truck queues for some ECPs has on days become excessive, which is not only creating hazardous traffic management conditions, but is also impacting on the safe and productive operations of other tenants in Port Botany,” it says.

“While the management of truck queues is the responsibility of the ECP operator, NSW Ports has decided to take action to address this issue by introducing additional temporary dedicated truck queuing areas where it is safe to do so.” 

Read about early transport industry warnings on Sydney container gridlock, here

As a result, NSW Ports says it has decided to act by issuing the following port operator direction to all truck drivers using port roads at Port Botany, in accordance with the notice of Port Operator Direction No. 2 of 2020

Under the notice persons are prohibited from:

  • Parking vehicles (including trailers) in a place not prescribed as a parking space or in any way contrary to a parking line, parking sign or parking zone;
  • Leaving trailers unattached or unattended
  • Leaving goods (including containers) unattended (including leaving goods unattended on or in vehicles or trailers).

NSW Ports’ says the following directions set out “reasonable and practicable steps” within its control which will be implemented, effective today.

These arrangements are said to be temporary and will continue until further notice.

They are:

  • NSW Ports has designated specific areas on port roads (as per the attached map) for use by truck drivers in which they can stop/queue and thereby rank while seeking to access specific ECPs
  • NSW Ports will put in place signage and line markings to clearly identify the specific truck queuing areas
  • Any truck which cannot physically queue entirely within the specific area designated for that ECP will be directed to leave the port precinct immediately
  • If a truck driver fails to follow the lawful direction to leave the port precinct immediately, enforcement action will be taken against the truck driver and/or owner of the truck/trailer.

Port users are called on to share the information with their members as soon as possible and ensure that all truck drivers are aware of the new truck queuing lanes, and no stopping areas.

The notice can be accessed here.

ATN has sought more details from Ports NSW.


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