Govt demands action on 'unacceptable' port delays

Truck drivers waiting up to five hours to pick up containers at Port Botany in Sydney

Truck drivers are waiting up to five hours to pick up containers at Port Botany in Sydney.

The State Government is blaming Patrick for the delays, putting the stevedore operator on notice to improve truck turnaround times or face government regulation.

Tripodi says having truck drivers wait in the cabs for that period of time is "completely unacceptable".

A spokesperson for Patrick admits an "unexpected surge in volumes" has resulted in "some congestion at the port".

"We are sympathetic to the impact this has on road transport operators and we are doing all we can to alleviate the congestion," she says.

"We are confident we can resolve this short-term issue quickly."

However, one driver who runs Newcastle to Sydney twice dailiy told Owner/Driver
that Patrick trucks seemed unaffected by the queues and were receiving preferential treatment while others had to wait
"for hours" with no toilet
facilities in the vicinity.

The State Government is implementing reforms to port scheduling, including performance standards for rail and truck turnaround times.

Tripodi says the legislation gives port operators the "first stance to address these issues".

"But if delays like we have seen today continue, we will have little choice but to introduce regulations to ensure our main gateway to the international economy remains open and efficient," he says.

"Those regulations will include penalties for stevedores who fail to service trucks and trains within a set time."

Tripodi has today written to Patrick to express the Government’s disappointment with the current delays.

He told industry if it is unable to achieve an acceptable performance in the short term, the Government will move immediately to implement the second phase of the reform agenda, which includes regulation.

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