Second road industry trial at Port Botany

The next phase of trialling new performance and penalty frameworks for stevedores and transport carriers at Port Botany was announced by Sydney Ports Corporation today, together with the results of the first road transport survey.
The details of the second industry trial of the Port Botany Landside Improvement Strategy were outlined at an industry briefing in Mascot, attended by over 150 industry stakeholders and representatives.
Sydney Ports executive general manager, industry relations, Lachlan Benson said the second industry trial would take place post-Easter with a view to reporting against agreed trial performance measures.
“This is the second of three industry trials aimed at testing the draft performance framework for Port Botany’s road logistics chain, to and from the port,” Mr Benson said.
“Building on the co-operation of industry and success of the first trial, the enhanced scope of the second trial was outlined and a number of new measures will be trialled.
“Over a two-week period commencing April 13, Sydney Ports will collect operational data at Port Botany during a historically higher volume period, post-Easter.
“During trial two, preliminary penalty criteria will be applied to both road transporters and the stevedores when trial performance standards are not achieved. This will allow industry to understand and assess the notional impact of the type of penalties that may apply.
“A range of preliminary penalty criteria for poor performance have been presented to the Port Botany Road Taskforce for consideration and trialling, but no monetary calculations will be applied or shown during the trial.
“For stevedores, the types of penalty criteria that will be trialled include slow processing and cancelling VBS slots due to general congestion.
“In addition, the preliminary criteria include a penalty for not offering an agreed minimum number of slots per hour and a penalty for not being able to locate a box within the terminal when a truck arrives.
“Penalty criteria that will be assessed for transport carriers include a late arrival penalty, no show fee and early arrival charge to help stem congestion at the port.
“For the first time, ‘stack runs – empty and full’, will be analysed as will the measurement of ‘job complete’ at the stevedores.
“In addition, the in gate and out gate operations of the Empty Container Parks and the operations of AQIS will also be measured for the first time,” Mr Benson said.
Mr Benson said Sydney Ports continued to be actively engaged with industry over the last six months to improve efficiencies across the broader logistics chain associated with Port Botany.
“The results of the first trial were outlined to industry stakeholders at the third industry briefing this morning and highlighted the potential efficiency gains to industry,” Mr Benson said.
“Sydney Ports received full support from different industry stakeholders who provided daily operational data which were critical to the success of the first trial.
“This ongoing support and co-operation is critical to the success of trial two and will provide valuable input into the future reforms for the industry,” Mr Benson said.

Christmas at risk from port congestion

Road and rail transport operators have warned the Sydney Ports Corporation that many will go out of business and Christmas goods destined for Sydney stores will not get delivered in time, unless immediate productivity increases are made by the two stevedores.

The Sydney Port Corporation held an information session yesterday to update industry on the proposed landside productivity improvements. While the presentations gave a high-level overview of planned action to improve access and productivity in the medium to long term, there was no immediate relief for long-suffering transport operators.

Horror stories told by representatives of container cartage operators told of trucks taking up to five hours to pick up import containers, with the stevedores lacking information and relying on truck drivers to give them the missing details.

Others told of instances where the stevedores closed their gates at 2 pm sharp on Saturdays, notwithstanding trucks with valid slots still waiting outside. “We had booked the slots on the VBS as required,” one operator told T&Lnews. “their equipment breaks down or they have a staff shortage and are slow to load the containers, but they make us bear the cost of it – they go home and to hell with the trucks still waiting!”

Many operators expressed the concern that the reduced productivity is causing them to lose money and be forced out of business, and that containers arriving during the current Christmas rush will not be delivered to stores in time.

Some rail operators are equally affected. A company spokesperson who did not wish to be named, said his trains take, on average, 10 hours for the return trip from suburban Sydney to Botany. “The best we ever had was eight hours, but often it takes a whole day,” he said. “We have to change crews on the track because they run out of working hours.

“It takes 15 minutes to shunt in and another 15 to shunt out of the stevedores’ sidings. We only have a one-hour window, but they take the shunting time off that. They go to lunch early, and return late, but they take that off, too, from our time. When the time’s up, we have to leave – every single day we are forced to leave containers behind.”

He said the stevedores’ productivity is less than half of what they achieve every day in their own yard.

The Sydney Ports Corporation representative attempted to reassure operators that new KPIs and penalties will be incorporated into the stevedores’ leases, however, this will not have an effect for many months. The peak period surcharge mooted by ports minister Joe Tripodi will not be in place until at least the end of the current financial year.

Five shortlisted for the third terminal at Port Botany

Port Botany.

Five stevedoring groups have entered a bidding war over the third container terminal at Port Botany.

Sydney Ports Corporation has announced that five stevedoring companies have been invited to tender to operate the third container terminal at Port Botany.

The company’s CEO Grant Gilfillan said the invitation was the second part of a two-stage process for choosing the terminal operator for the Port Botany expansion project.

A total of 13 groups expressed interest in operating the terminal, responding to the call for expressions of interest due on September 1.

“The healthy response indicates there is strong industry confidence in the long-term commercial viability of Sydney’s container port,” Mr Gilfillan said.

The company asked the applicants to provide information concerning their financial and resource capacity, container terminal expertise and experience, as well as capacity to resource and manage the new terminal.

Ports Minister Joe Tripodi said bids would entail fixed and variable rental elements, and a level of investment and intended work volumes.

Mr Gilfillan said the shortlisted groups included domestic and international operators, without revealing their names.

“We regard the process as commercially confidential and will not be announcing the names of those who have been invited to tender.

“We expect the stevedore to be chosen by mid-2009, with the first berths available for trade from 2012,” he said.

It is speculated among the contenders were Patrick, DP World, Hong Kong-based Hutchison Port Holdings and the Singapore Ports Authority. Former Patrick chief Chris Corrigan was also reported to have expressed interest.

It is expected the selected operator will inject around $350 million into new facilities, with initial expenditure on gantries of about $150 million.

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