Sydney Seafreight delays at Port Botany

November 17, 2010 Edward

Seafreight Delays Sydney

DP World are concerned that their Port Botany terminal may soon reach gridlock unless they can deliver the bulk of their current 4200 import containers currently on site. Of these containers, DP World estimate that 2900 are “clear” in the Integrated Cargo System (ICS). Of these 2900, it is estimated that between 1500 and 1800 are handled by three major transport carriers (P&O Trans Australia, Patrick Port Services and ACFS).


As outlined in the commentary below from DP World, vessels will not be discharged for
a period of time (to be determined) to allow all available resources to focus on landside activities.

Since the upgrade to the new Terminal Operating System in Port Botany there have been some outstanding issues
that are negatively impacting the efficiency of gate processes. These have taken longer than anticipated to resolve
but remain confident that solutions will be shortly reached.

Meanwhile the manual processes that are in place to keep traffic flowing into and out of the terminal the volume of container movements through the gate has been insufficient to keep pace with the quantity of imports discharged from vessels during this period. Consequently the yard utilisation levels have crossed optimum levels over the past few days and now impacting with lower crane rates on vessel operations and slower truck turn times.

After careful consideration of all possible alternatives, it has been determined that the more aggressive steps are needed to bring yard utilisation to normal levels.

We expect to achieve this, by temporarily suspending vessel working for a period to allow maximum terminal resources to be dedicated to road/rail deliveries. This will be done only after completing the exchanges of vessels currently working alongside until the midnight shift restarting 2200 tomorrow. We recognise and regret the significant impact on vessels’ schedules and will be discussing with Lines any alternatives that may be available. We will also be seeking the possibility of subcontracting some vessels out if the possibility arises.

We regret that this has become necessary and at short notice, however not aggressively addressing this problem would eventually result in terminal gridlock. The underlying problems that have contributed to this situation are complex but have now been identified and we expect to be in a much better position when we recommence normal vessel operations.


We understand that more Vehicle Booking Slots time slot zones were cancelled today.

DP World could not guarantee whether or not more Vehicle Booking Slots time slot zones cancellations would occur but gave a commitment that this would only be done as a last resort.


Industry officials expressed concerns to Shipping Australia Limited (SAL) requesting that consideration be given to application of container detention fees during these extreme operating conditions. It has been noted that some shipping lines are refusing to show any leniency.