After experiencing outbreaks of COVID-19 at DP World’s and Hutchinson Ports’ Port Botany Terminals and Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT) in Melbourne, Ports Australia has urged the government to begin engaging and planning on how to better manage these situations.
After having to closing for deep cleaning for short periods of time, operations have now started again at both terminals.
Mike Gallacher, CEO of Ports Australia, worries COVID outbreaks could become more regular after Australia comes out of lockdown.
“If this instance of COVID-19 invading a workforce has occurred while Sydney and Melbourne are still under hard lockdown, one can only imagine the likelihood of such instances once we begin living with the virus and our supply chain workers are exposed by the community whether vaccinated or not,” said Gallacher.
“We’re fortunate to have avoided major disruptions to the supply chain after these instances due to the relatively low number of workers deemed close or casual contacts, but we may not be so lucky in times to come.
“We cannot have outbreaks like these standing down masses of wharfies, truckies, rail operators or any critical worker in between who serve essential roles for our community.”
Previously, Ports Australia have also urged the government to prioritise land critical to the sustainable future of supply chains. Reported in August 2021, Ports Australia said in a statement that there needs to be “wider debate” involving authorities around Australia focusing on protecting freight trade from “urban encroachment”.