Trailer Magazine

QLD port ban may not affect trade patterns according to QTA

  • Posted on Thursday 19th, March 2020.

A Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) ban on commercial ships entering ports in Queensland, to help mitigate the risk of Covid-19 transmission, is under scrutiny by road transport and ocean freight advocates concerned with disruption to the supply of essential trade to the state.

MSQ recently announced country-specific exemptions for vessels departing from New Zealand, Papa New Guinea and South West pacific origin following its ban on ships that had been in any country outside of Australia within the last 14 days.

Angus Mitchell, General Manager MSQ Department of Transport and Main Roads, said country specific exemptions will be reviewed weekly or in the event information is received that changes their specific risk profile.

"Additionally, MSQ is aware that in the case of Papua New Guinea and South West Pacific Islands, the continued provision of essential goods is critical for these isolated and vulnerable nations during the current Covid-19 pandemic," said Mitchell.

"In assessing all requests I will continue to be guided maintaining the wellbeing of Queensland’s maritime workforce and ensuring the continued provision of vital maritime services in-and-out of Queensland ports over the coming challenging months.

"Equally, the welfare of our international seafarers is an important consideration in the measures I have adopted."

The Australian Federation of International Forwarders (AFIF) said in a statement that while the recent change to the ban is welcome, the exemptions do not go wide enough.

"The issue still remains for those vessels departing from Singapore and Malaysia, etc," said AFIF.

The Queensland Trucking Association (QTA) is also keeping a close eye on the situation as it unfolds.

"I am being assured this won't affect trade patterns but we are monitoring closely," QTA CEO, Gary Mahon, told Trailer Magazine. "We expect ships 'ex' China by mid next week."

Trailer Magazine will follow up on this development as news comes to hand.

Singapore was approved by MSQ and added it to the exemption list last night.

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