LOCAL: Strikes to hit importers

IMPORTERS are bracing for a hip pocket hit with Maritime Union strikes at both the Fremantle and Port Botany container terminals.

A 72-hour strike at Fremantle is to end at midnight tonight but 48-hours of action is expected at Port Botany (Sydney) starting this Wednesday.

Platinum Freight Management chief executive Peter McRae said the strike meant the strong possibility of blow-outs in importers’ budgets.

Mr McRae said importers should consider if other ports also might be affected in coming weeks and plan accordingly.

He noted three major loss areas:

1. Higher wharf charges

2. Shipping line detention

3. Further delays

Mr McRae said the Australian Border Force still had to complete due diligence checks, leading to further delays in stock exiting terminals.

“Industrial action is all too common, and while media tends to focus on the trade issue at stake, the forgotten loser is the importer, who has no bearing in the delays other than waiting for their stock, whether it be apparel or building materials, or even fresh produce,” Mr McRae said.

“There is no way for the importer or indeed their broker to avoid many of the main offending charges associated with a strike – it’s just bad luck.

“A smart importer will have the risk covered in their contingency budget.

“We encourage importers to act smarter again, pre-clearing shipments promptly as they exit the country of origin.

“This takes out at least one of the major areas of potential blowout, meaning you’ve mitigated as much risk as possible when unforeseen circumstances such as strikes hit.”