Local government truck movements and port terminal operations need to be standardised to improve supply chain resilience, according to the boss of a WA freight-forwarding company.
Local government truck movement laws and port terminal operations need to be standardised to improve supply chain resilience, according to the boss of a Western Australian freight-forwarding company.
EES Shipping managing director Brian Hack said a state government taskforce had missed a golden opportunity to implement short-term changes to bolster WA’s supply chain against natural disasters within the next year.
His comments came in the wake of a state government report into shipping and supply chain constraints and ahead of the now-released federal probe into the merits of an Australian-flagged fleet.
It also followed Fremantle Ports' annual report, which showed customer satisfaction with the port slipping from 88 to 50 per cent, attributed to ageing infrastructure and berth availability.
Mr Hack said inefficient port operations were a result of a “how they have always been done” attitude.
“There are a number of things that can be done immediately which will assist in making landside operations far more efficient, cost-effective, and able to react more quickly to disruptions in the supply chain,” he said.
“If we can create some consistency, smooth out wait times and avoid double-handling, the overall benefit is potentially significant.
“It is good to see (Fremantle Ports) investing more money in it and that will be interesting to see in the coming years.”
The state taskforce recommended floating a national fleet and opening Wyndham Port to imports via granting it first point of entry status, which would require provision of extra biosecurity.
“The risk of interruptions to rail and road supply chains serving WA is growing each year due to climate change, flooding and fire,” Mining and Pastoral MLC Kyle McGinn said.
“If properly supported, Australian flagged and crewed vessels can strengthen our essential supply chains in future.”
On Wednesday the federal government’s report found an Australian-owned and crewed fleet of up to 12 vessels could mitigate the impact of land freight disruptions and build sovereign capability.
Federal Transport minister Catherine King said the fleet would be relied on during crises to get goods to affected regions.
WA’s state shipping service ceased in 1995, with then-premier Richard Court revealing it was running at a loss of $50,000 a day.
Part of the reasoning behind its axing was a breakdown in negotiations between the government and Maritime Union of Australia to reduce stevedoring costs by $500,000.
“Simple changes such as allowing trucks to take four containers out of the port instead of three would have a significant impact on truck movements and freight costs,” he said.
“Road, rail, sea and air freight are not competing with one another, they need to operate as a symphony, not a cacophony.”
Mr Dumesny said there was no need for further reports or policies to improve efficiency.