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Operational update - Depots remain congested


Port congestion is a major challenge faced by many ports globally and can occur due to various reasons like bad weather which results in vessels lining up and pandemics like the COVID-19. These result to many ports around the world trimming down their workforce to avoid transmission of the virus. This means less people available to handle the same number of ships and containers which lowers the productivity levels drastically.

Price and Speed, a prominent Sydney-based depot, offered the following commentary this week in a customer notice, encouraging FTA member, depot operators, ANJ Container Services and Trojan Transport to voiced out their sentiments requesting a demand to call shipping lines and request realistic free storage days of up to 15 days to suit current trading conditions.


Port congestion has caused frustration to rise steadily leading to transport companies giving out notice to their members about cartage contractors not accepting any responsibility for any cost or charges regardless of the reason for any detention. Whilst, in the current operating environment there will no doubt that there would be many scenarios like 'vessel bunching' which causes excessive amounts of containers needing to be cleared from the terminals prior to the three (3) day free time expiring. Which definitely leads to delay in returning empty containers within prescribed timeframes and cannot be avoided. This Also creates backlog at importers yards trying to unpack multiple containers and have them returned to the empty container parks (also under pressure) to avoid shipping line detention - initiated in some cases seven (7) days after discharge - NOT availability.


Whilst we acknowledge that this will cause an extra burden on your staff to create correspondence and maintain logs of delays etc, we encourage members to take up the offer of shipping lines to raise concerns and to document these scenarios. This is after the failed effort in requesting for all major shipping lines for a blanket extension of detention free days. In which most of them conceded they will assess the quantum of penalties on a ‘case by case’ basis. In some cases they have advised the problems are outside their control, while others have advised to apply for extra free time at origin.


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