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Patrick Terminals Blame Strike Action For Dock Delays

With consumer goods piling up on ships and unable to dock and transport to stores in the lead up to Christmas, the country’s leading shipping container handler, Patrick Terminals, has headed to the courts in order to halt ongoing industrial action by the maritime union.

The stevedore applied to the Fair Work Commission yesterday to stop the “unrelenting barrage” of supply chain blockages caused by worker strikes across four state, citing “serious damage” that could be done to the national economy.

Patrick handles close to 40 per cent of shipping containers nationally, and cites shipping lines, who say the “situation is becoming untenable.”

Under 424 of the Fair Work Act, industrial action can be terminated if “the action has threatened, is threatening, or would threaten to cause significant damage to the Australian economy.”

“The effects of port delays moreover cascade throughout the economy in the form of lost sales, costs of transport and storage, and losses in production or productivity where the delayed goods are inputs to other processes such as manufacturing,” Patrick’s submission read.

“Thousands of businesses will be affected to some degree, as is inevitable in a country with no land borders and where the vast majority of marine freight is containerised.

“These ‘multiplier effects’ are likely to be significant, and ­compounded by the length of the industrial action.”

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