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Ship delays hit South Australia as strike action continues

18 January 2016

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Nationwide strikes on board Svitzer Australia’s tugs are continuing this week and Port Adelaide will be hit with another 24 hour stoppage from midnight tonight. Tomorrow’s strike action will again halt shipping, preventing five ships from entering or leaving South Australia’s largest port. Tuesday’s strike follows a previous 24 hour stoppage on Saturday that impacted 10 vessels carrying millions of dollars of freight, in an ongoing dispute between Svitzer Australia and the Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers (AIMPE).

Five ships scheduled for Tuesday will be impacted by tomorrow’s strike action, including the arrival of a container ship.

“We have managed to avoid having a regular container ship service diverted to another port and customers incurring higher freight charges.  Our marine operations team has been in constant contact with shipping lines and agents, and this vessel will reduce her speed at sea to push back her arrival at Port Adelaide to Wednesday,” said Mr Vincent Tremaine, Chief Executive Officer of Flinders Port Holdings.

All ships which could not enter the port during the previous strike on Saturday, including two container ships, were brought into Port Adelaide on Sunday. Flinders Ports worked on them as quickly and safely as possible so that they could leave before the next round of tug stoppages on Tuesday. But there are two bulk carriers that Flinders Ports is unlikely to be able to turn-around in the required timeframe.  This is because these bulk cargoes take longer to unload and one of the ships needs a high tide to sail, which occurs on Tuesday, during the strike action.  The departure of this ship will be delayed until later in the week, when high tide conditions return to the port.

With potentially two bulk carriers stuck in the port until later this week, Flinders Ports is concerned about the available berth space to accommodate other ships that will be forced to wait out at sea on Tuesday and enter the port on Wednesday.

“Our marine operations specialists are looking at options to free up berth space for the ships hit by strike action. We are doing everything we can to mitigate the impact of the tug dispute on our customers and the wider South Australian community,” 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

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Flinders Port Holdings is a privately owned port, logistics and container terminal services group based in Port Adelaide, South Australia.

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