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Weather and tech disrupt landside container logistics in Melbourne

A combination of technology glitches and vessel delays due to bad weather in Sydney has caused considerable delays and added operational headaches for container transport operators in Melbourne over the last week according to Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA).

Patrick Terminals reportedly experienced technology issues when transitioning to an upgraded Terminal Management System (TOS) at its East Swanson Terminal. This resulted in considerable truck turnaround delays, with some reports of delays of up to eight hours in processing trucks.

“It is appreciated that Patrick Terminals staff in Melbourne worked hard last week and into this week to rectify the technology issues, and the service levels are now returning to normal (although some difficulties remain to be overcome),” said CTAA Director, Neil Chambers.

“However, the delays last week caused huge added expense to container transport operators, who have needed to allocate more vehicles and resources to the backlog of containers to pick up and deliver to East Swanson Terminal.

“Also, while Patrick has rightly waived any no-show and wrong time zone penalties for last week, many transport operators coped penalties from the other stevedore terminals and other parts of the logistics chain because trucks delayed at Patrick couldn’t make their subsequent timeslots at other facilities,” he said.

Chambers explained that these delays can incur penalties and added costs on transport operators which can be significant.

The Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT), according to Chambers, was has having to deal with ship bunching as vessels were delayed due to bad weather in Sydney. This led to a paucity of vehicle booking system slots as import containers and export recevals built up.

“Again, this creates added delays and landside transport pressures that come at a large cost to transport companies,” said Chambers.

“To top it all off, DP World Melbourne is now experiencing its own delays, also as a result of a Terminal Operating System upgrade undertaken last Friday.

“If you’ll excuse the pun, it’s been the ‘perfect storm’ in Melbourne last week and this week, including having to deal with the cargo backlogs in this short week with the AFL Final Public Holiday this Friday.

“Freight forwarders and shippers need to understand the difficulties that their transport providers have been subjected to last week and this week.”

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