Nationwide strikes on board Svitzer Australia’s tugs will halt shipping tomorrow at the state’s largest port, Port Adelaide. The 24 hour tug stoppage will be followed by another strike on Tuesday, leaving millions of dollars of freight stranded, and South Australian businesses high and dry. The industrial action follows Svitzer Australia’s failed application to the Fair Work Commission to have the strike called off, after negotiations with the Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers (AIMPE) floundered earlier in the week.
“South Australian companies are being caught in the cross-fire of an unnecessary dispute. We had 10 vessels scheduled for Saturday that have been impacted – six arriving and four leaving including two container ships and a fuel ship. These vessels contain millions of dollars of cargo which are essential for the smooth running of the state and the competitiveness of local businesses. The South Australian economy is doing it tough, so the timing of this industrial action couldn’t be worse,” said Mr Vincent Tremaine, Chief Executive Officer of Flinders Port Holdings.
Flinders Ports’ ship schedulers are working against the clock to reallocate vessel arrival and departure times in a bid to minimise the impact of the strikes on shippers. But with another 24 hour strike planned for Tuesday, there are fears that vital imports and exports could be delayed, leaving local firms and their customers in the lurch.
“We understand Svitzer Australia secured the agreement of the Australian Maritime Officers Union (AMOU) and the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and that they support a single, four-year Enterprise Agreement (EA) that would cover all members of a tug boat crew. The dispute erupted after AIMPE apparently refused to accept the agreement and demanded their own EA with very similar terms,” said Mr Tremaine.
In 2015 around 14.6 million tonnes of cargo including 296,402 containers moved through Port Adelaide. It is South Australia’s busiest port and handles most of the state’s key exports such as grain, wine and mineral exports for the mining sector. South Australia relies on imported fuel which is shipped through two dedicated facilities, also located at Port Adelaide.
About Flinders Ports
Flinders Ports is South Australia’s leading port operator with seven ports located at Port Adelaide, Port Lincoln, Port Pirie, Thevenard, Port Giles, Wallaroo and Klein Point. Flinders Ports offers a range of port and port related services including pilotage, mooring, survey and marine control. It is part of the Flinders Port Holdings Group, which is led by Chief Executive Officer, Vincent Tremaine. For more information about Flinders Ports, visit: www.flindersports.com.au