Shipping Industry Ignored For Too Long, Ports Australia National Conference Told

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27th October 2010, 05:23pm - Views: 1904

Misc Miscellaneous Maritime Union Of Australia 1 image

365-375 Sussex Street, Sydney, 2000, Australia

Telephone: (02) 9267 9134        Facsimile:  (02) 9261 3481


The Maritime Union of Australia

I. Bray

W. Smith

Assistant National Secretaries

National Office

P. Crumlin

National Secretary

M. Doleman

Deputy National Secretary

Wednesday 27 October 2010

Shipping industry ignored for too long, 

Ports Australia National Conference told

Calls for the shipping industry to be included in Australia’s National Ports Strategy have been



“How are we to have a serious policy dialogue about ports, freight infrastructure, or about supply

chains, and not mention shipping?” the Maritime Union of Australia National Secretary and

President of the International Transport Workers’ Federation Paddy Crumlin said today



Speaking at the Ports Australia National Conference at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Hobart, Mr

Crumlin also said, “Ports and shipping are the yin and yang of international trade. 


“That is unless you are Infrastructure Australia and the National Transport Commission, which

developed a National Ports Strategy but omitted any reference to shipping.


“Although the union raised our concern about this omission in formal submissions to Infrastructure

Australia and the National Transport Commission, and in consultative forums, we have been



“This is a serious state of affairs as it now looks like COAG will sign off on the National Ports

Strategy with this serious omission.  


“This is a wasted policy opportunity. Let’s not make the same mistake as we develop the National

Freight Network Plan.”


Mr Crumlin said that if the industry was to maximise the utilisation of existing port investments and

port assets, and improve port productivity, a range of safety, labour relations, training and

workforce issues would need to be addressed by Governments and by the industry.  These issues are

not currently part of the National Ports Strategy.


He said stevedoring and freight transport were high risk occupations, demonstrated by the number

of deaths and serious injuries, which seriously undermined the opportunity for improved

productivity and workforce harmony.


“The very fact that the Federal Government, all State Governments and the peak social partners –

ACCI, AIG and ACTU – unanimously agreed that Safe Work Australia establish a Stevedoring

Technical Advisory Group to examine and report on improvements in stevedoring safety is a

recognition that stevedoring safety needs serious attention and cannot be left to the industry itself to

resolve,” he said.


Misc Miscellaneous Maritime Union Of Australia 2 image

365-375 Sussex Street, Sydney, 2000, Australia

Telephone: (02) 9267 9134        Facsimile:  (02) 9261 3481



“Despite Commonwealth bodies like Safe Work Australia and the National Transport Commission

being directly involved in port and supply chain safety, Infrastructure Australia - also a

Commonwealth body - gave the issue of safety no attention in the National Ports Strategy.  How

could this be?”


Mr Crumlin also told the conference that shipping, both its domestic and international elements,

must be central to a national strategy for ports in Australia.  Integrated supply chain improvements

can no longer ignore shipping.


He said Australian commodity exporters and the Australian international shipping industry have

failed to take full advantage of their market power in effectively managing the supply and value

chain opportunities beyond our ports.


“We believe that Australian shippers, particularly the commodity exporters with long term

contracts, have failed to fully understand or pay attention to shipping in their supply and value chain

management,” Mr Crumlin said. 


“The evidence can be seen in the large shipping queues at Australia’s coal and to a lesser extent iron

ore export ports, in the heavy reliance on foreign ships for our exports, almost exclusively operating

under Free On Board (FOB) shipping contracts under which the buyer controls the shipping, and

therefore determines the ship scheduling, ship utilisation, crew standards and costs. 


“The predominance of FOB shipping contracts in the international coal and iron ore trade where

long term fixed contracts predominate is in marked contrast to the Delivered Ex Ship (DES)

contracts, where the seller controls the shipping, in the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) trade for



“We say that the long shipping queues at ports like Newcastle and Dalrymple Bay are as much

about poor shipping policy as about structural deficiencies in shore side infrastructure and logistics



Mr Crumlin also said Australia’s resource exporters have failed to understand the shipping industry

and its significance in supply chain productivity and efficiency.  


Media contacts: Paddy Crumlin 0418 379 660; Justin Coomber 0457 833 896; Zoe Reynolds

0417 229 873.

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