The decision of certain container shipping lines to reduce the free time available for import containers to be de-hired will increase international trade costs inAustraliafor both importers and exporters.
Effective from 1 August 2012, Maersk Line, ANL, CGM-CMA, and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) Container Free Time and Container Detention Tariffs have changed. In most cases, the import container free time period has been reduced from ten (10) calendar days to seven (7) calendar days.
The executive director of the Customs Brokers and Forwarders Council of Australia Inc. (CBFCA) Stephen Morris said if Australian port and supply chain efficiency met the benchmark of other global port and supply chains then such change may be acceptable. However, it does not.
Considering the current mismatch of operating hours in the supply chain, container availability, and Customs and biosecurity interventions, the return of the empty container to a de-hire facility with limited operating hours will make it difficult to meet the seven calendar days.
“Maersk had advised it was part of the Maersk global standards to bringAustraliain line with the rest of the world. What Maersk has failed to take into consideration in its global benchmark decision is that the port and supply chain efficiency inAustraliais not at global best practice or standards,” Mr Morris said.
It was also important to note that Maersk determined the empty container parks (ECP) that would receive its containers in Australia and needed to ensure it played its part in improving efficiency as to availability of containers as well as ensuring operating hours at their ECP met industry