Industrial Action Update and Current Space Situation

Attention: Shipping Manager

Industrial Action Update (Fremantle and Sydney):

We were notified earlier today by our truckers in Perth regarding the industrial action at DP World Terminal Fremantle. MUA’s action today at DP World terminal was in the form of 2 hours stoppage and work restrictions which started at 1 pm today. All terminal operations were stopped during this time.

Meanwhile in Sydney, Maritime Union of Australia has ensured Fair Work Commission that they won’t organize any industrial action at Patrick terminals before 1st of December 2020. According to the latest update received from FTA, Patrick terminals has withdrawn their application from Fair Work Commission as a result of this development. Both parties have agreed to meet for a few days each week to try and reach a new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement. This will likely provide much needed relief to Sydney port which is facing severe congestion for the past few months with berthing delays of up to 15 days.


Current Space Situation:

As advised in our previous notices, we are experiencing significant space issues specially from Asian origins to Australia. Shipping lines who offer guaranteed equipment and load service from US$600/box up to US$1400/box on top of usual freight rates are even not accepting bookings out of Asia. Other lines are also consistently increasing their rates with GRI’s/Rate Restorations/standard rate increases. The entire situation is very uncertain with Sydney being the most effected Port of Destination. Below is a brief summary of space situation to Australia from all major origins:

  • Singapore: Majority of carriers are fully booked out till end of November. Rates have gone up excessively. Some lines have completely stopped bookings to Sydney until week 50 i.e. till December. 
  • Malaysia: Severe shortage of space, particularly due to congestion in Australia. Sydney has been the hardest hit port. Last week, there were some booking cancellations for mid-November shipments just because the carriers didn’t have enough space. Cosco is not taking any cargo to Sydney till end of November due to overwhelming pending orders. OOCL are not accepting bookings to Sydney until further notice (Not till mid-November). Similarly, other carriers are also either full or limiting Sydney bound cargo. 
  • Thailand:  Space situation is bad with equipment shortages. 
  • Vietnam: Most of the carriers are either full till end of November or have suspended some of their services until further notice. Those which have limited space are charging exorbitant rates. 
  • South Korea: Some of the carriers have space available for mid-December only. Others have increased their rates significantly. 
  • Japan: There is a lack of empty containers in Japan. Due to very high demand for shipments out of China to USA/Europe, carriers have shifted majority of their empty containers to China to meet the increasing demand, so there is a shortage of equipment availability for Japanese exports. Even with extra high rates, its difficult to get the space. Additionally, typhoon/heavy rain/bad weather have delayed some of the shipping schedules. The circumstances are likely to stay as they are till end of November. 
  • India: All carriers have very tight/limited space so they are releasing bookings only with very high freight rates. Some are only taking bookings on their Sea Priority Go service for which they charge extra 600 USD/container on top of the already higher freight rates. Also with reference to congestion in Australia, some shipping lines have stopped calling Sydney for the time being. They are also implementing strict booking procedures with no-show/cancellation fees. 
  • United Kingdom: The situation in UK at the moment is very challenging with our partner recommending a week’s notice to secure trucking. In terms of congestion at UK ports due to the COVID-19 regulations, drivers are taking up to 5 hours to get the release of equipment from the port. OOCL and Maersk aren’t offering any service to Sydney which leaves us with only a few other options. Our partner doesn’t anticipate the situation will improve this year. 
  • Italy: Suffering from space and equipment shortage so our partner suggests arranging bookings 2 weeks in advance. 
  • Germany: Earlier this month, we were notified that OOCL has started accepting bookings to Australia again with the exception of Sydney. Despite this, there is shortage of space as OOCL and other transhipment services come via Malaysia/Singapore which are severely congested. 
  • France: Similar to Germany, transhipment services are badly impacted. Our partner recommends a few weeks advance booking. In terms of equipment availability, dry containers are still available but there is lack of reefer containers.
  • USA: Shortage of truckers in USA is occasionally causing booking rollovers. We have experienced a few such instances in the last few weeks.

Given the above situation, please try and book your shipments as early as possible.

We will keep you updated with new information as it becomes available.