Ports Australia addresses Productivity Commission study

Ports Australia has released its submission to the Productivity Commission’s study into Australia’s resilience to global disruptions and engagement with the logistics sectors.

The PC study aims to identify risks and strategies to aid current supply chain efforts, with particular attention given to Australia’s heavy reliance on imports and exports.

Ports Australia, the peak body representing Australian port authorities and corporations, says it hopes the study will appropriately assess risks and mitigation strategies in the supply chain and logistics context. Over 98 per cent of international trade is transferred within the nation’s ports, with exporting also a major source of income for the nation’s economy.

Ports Australia has focused its submission on five possible areas of hazard.

The first is shipping lines. With Australia’s increased reliance on imports and exports, shipping lines are of increased importance. Mitigating risks relating to the possible closure of shipping lines should be priority of the PC’s study, Ports Australia says.

Secondly, shipping routes must be examined in conjunction with shipping lines, with a emphasis being placed on avoiding issues such as the 2021 Suez canal blockage, according to the peak body.

Ports Australia says that service provision, including the loading and departure of ships, and complications over worker status across supply chain jurisdictions, must also be addressed in light of COVID-19.

Finally, Ports Australia says the study must focus on critical resource and commodity procurement, that being a potential disruptor to supply chains, as well as the stockpiling of relevant supplies such as fuel.

Mike Gallacher, Ports Australia’s CEO, says that the PC’s study must incorporate all the complexities of supply chain vulnerabilities, and not be too narrowly focused.

“The last twelve months have held witness to a challenged yet resilient Australian supply chain despite a multitude of international crises and Ports Australia appreciates this opportunity to examine how we can further bolster its stability,” Mike says.

“While Ports Australia and other supply chain partners detail a number of key issues and the Productivity Commission is focusing on commodities, it’s important to remember that every link, asset and vulnerability are an interconnected web which will ultimately determine the productivity of our international supply chain,” he adds.

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