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DP World Australia Statement on ACCC Stevedoring Monitoring Report
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Sydney, 10 November, 2021:  DP World Australia has cooperated with the ACCC for over 20 years to assist in the preparation of ACCC’s annual Stevedoring Monitoring Report. 

Following the release of the 2020-21 ACCC Stevedoring Monitoring Report, DP World is surprised at the weight attributed to the inaugural IHS Markit report on global port performance which was published earlier this year.  The findings from IHS Markit requires further scrutiny, particularly the criteria used to measure both port performance and stevedores performances in those ports.  

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Australian Ports have outperformed many other international container ports.  DP World Australia CEO, Andrew Adam said, “The industry has seen, in the period since the report data was collected, that waiting times of vessels for an available berth has grown significantly at some international ports.  Additionally, some Asian ports have entirely shut down in the past year, causing major disruption to global shipping schedules and supply chains.  To ensure an appropriate representation of data in future releases from IHS Markit, the report should reflect the time ships are at anchor outside ports awaiting a berth, and not just ‘time on berth’.” 

Australian ports have historically achieved low waiting times at anchor, due to excess berth capacity at all Australian Container Terminals, as compared globally, due in part to the investment of both Port Owners and Stevedores.

The data also coincided with significant industrial action by the Maritime Union of Australia at all DP World Australian sites throughout 2019.  The Maritime Union of Australia has undertaken persistent and rolling industrial action at all four (4) stevedores over the last three (3) years during protracted bargaining, which has resulted in detrimental services to waterside, landside and rail at all stevedores.

Andrew Adam said, “Changes to the Fair Work Act to enable the Fair Work Commission to swiftly end the negotiation where impasses in negotiations extend beyond a specified period after the expiration of an Enterprise Agreement, should be considered by the Federal Government.”

“DP World Australia has continued to provide consistent operational performance since the conclusion of Enterprise Agreement negotiations 15 months ago.”

Prior to 2019, approximately 70% of vessel calls arrived in Australian Ports on schedule.  Over the last 15 months, which has coincided with the end of industrial action impacting DP World Australia, less than 10% of vessels have arrived on schedule, due to delays in overseas ports. 

Mr Adam said “Vessel bunching has caused the vast majority of the small delays in accessing DP World’s berths.  For example, in Sydney, we have a scheduled weekly service from Asia, where 4 vessels are arriving in the next 7 days, instead of 1 per week”. 

“Not only does this cause congestion on the quay line, it also requires the Terminal to receive and deliver imports and exports, causing pressure on the road and rail supply chains. Despite this, average waiting time year to date at all East Coast Australian Terminals operated by DP World, is less than 14 hours.  It is important to note that when the vessel berths, the average dwell time for a container year to date is less than 3 days, which is world class.  Our terminals operate 24/7 and we work closely with importers and exporters to ensure that containers are received and delivered efficiently.”  

“DP World Australia continues to lead the market in productivity and regularly moves over 10,000 TEU's daily.  Waterside performance has increased in 2021 compared to 2020, particularly in Sydney, where volume has increased 14% YOY, and at the same time crane productivity has increased 10% YOY.  Of the 43 container terminals operated by DP World globally, Sydney ranks 13th, Melbourne 17th, Brisbane 23rd and Fremantle 26th.” 

DP World continues to invest across its Australian portfolio, with over $250m being deployed in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle since 2017.  This critical capital allows DP World to continue providing resilient and reliable service during the current supply chain challenges.