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Container Detention Continued - Supplementary Submission to the Productivity Commission

Since providing the original submission on 11 February, the operational environment has worsened because of "vessel bunching", limited operating hours of facilities to receive empty containers, extreme supply chain labour shortages and in many cases, the detention clock starting at a time when cargo is physically unavailable for collection from the wharf. These are just a few received extensive examples from members highlighting the unreasonable administration of container detention fees.

This has been used as evidence as a part of a supplementary submission to the Productivity Commission calling for regulation to end the blatant misuse of this practice.

All of these clearly show a windfall for foreign-owned shipping lines contributing to their multi-billion dollar annual profits, adding to the current cost of living and inflationary pressures being felt across Australia with charges being passed down the supply chain, adversely affecting manufacturers, farmers, rural communities, and consumers.

While we are actively engaging with the Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment to improve efficiency and to meet the increasingly complex biosecurity protection task, members continue to report excessive delays to booking requests and inspection timings which is only adding to the industry’s woes.

This situation left everyone from major retailers through to small businesses, while Freight forwarders, customs brokers, and transport companies are left with the undesirable task of trying to explain this unbudgeted and unreasonable fee to importers and exporters costing anywhere from hundreds of dollars per consignment up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in some circumstances.


Our supplementary submission to the Productivity Commission reinforces the original position as addressed in recommendation 5 .

RECOMMENDATION 5 (regulation of container detention practices) – the need for federal government action and potential regulation, similar to US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), to ensure reasonable container detention policies are administered.


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