Australia can’t afford low port productivity

Australia can’t afford low port productivity

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has welcomed the release of the Productivity Commission’s report Lifting Productivity at Australia’s container ports: between water, wharf and warehouse.

“The Productivity Commission estimates the cost of low productivity in Australian ports at $600 million annually, a figure which represents a severe drag on Australia’s economic competitiveness,” ACCI chief of policy and advocacy David Alexander said.

“The Australian economy depends on trade, so we need to ensure products are imported and exported through our port systems efficiently and competitively.

“We urge the Government to act without delay and implement the Productivity Commission’s recommendations to lift productivity on our container ports.

“Australian consumers and businesses are paying far too much to move goods in and out of this country, with genuine concerns regarding speed and reliability.”

The report highlights the need for changes to the Fair Work Act to improve workplace arrangements and increase productivity at our ports. Highly restrictive clauses in container terminal operators’ workplace agreements constrain the way workers and equipment can be deployed.

The Government needs to commit to taking forward the Productivity Commission’s targeted recommendations in the specific areas identified as holding back productivity on our ports: competition policy, contractual arrangements, maritime regulation, skilling and migration, and workplace relations.