The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has expressed their concern this week over the decision made by the Victorian Government to select International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) as the operator of the Port of Melbourne’s third terminal.
MUA national secretary, Paddy Crumlin, highlighted ICTSI’s recent involvement in labour disputes in both the US and in Honduras, stating that the Philippine operator has “a poor international reputation in industrial relations”.
Crumlin, who is also president of the International Transport Workers’ Federation and chairs its dockers’ section, said the MUA would work with the company to develop productive, efficient and safe work practices.
Crumlin said that having one-off terminal operators went against the industry’s preference for strong networks in logistic and distribution.
“We will work with them to optimise the standards, but it’s a surprising and a worrying development.”
The project marks ICTSI’s entry into Australia, but it already manages 30 port terminals in six continents.
Victoria’s minister for ports, David Hodgett, said the project meant there would be three stevedores in Melbourne, with the existing operations of Patrick and DP World joined by the new operator.
Hodgett said that the winning bidder had addressed the commercial, environmental, community and amenity benchmarks established by the Port of Melbourne Corporation and its expert advisors.
ICTSI said in a statement that the new terminal included a 40-year lease and would give it a “competitive platform” for the development of its Australian business.
Work on the new terminal is expected to start later this year and be completed in late 2016, adding some 200 continuing jobs.