ALC takes maritime union to task

Michael Kilgariff, ALC managing director.

The keys to unlocking greater productivity on our waterfront come in the form of capital investment and progressive labour reform, Michael Kilgariff, Australian Logistics Council (ALC) managing director told a gathering of exporters in Sydney recently.

In his speech Kilgariff supported Asciano’s multi-million dollar plans to redevelop and expand its container terminal at Port Botany. Asciano has announced plans to spend $348 million to redevelop and expand its container terminal at Port Botany to transform the terminal into a world class and internationally competitive facility by 2014.

“A recent report from the McKinsley Global Institute said introducing new operating models within individual companies, such as automating supply chains, could boost productivity,” he said. “ALC commends Asciano for its commitment to improve supply chain efficiency and for taking positive steps to prepare for future trade growth at the port.

“Asciano’s redevelopment and expansion plans are welcome news to every Australian business that relies on improved port efficiency and productivity to keep its costs down. The project will increase capacity from 1.15 million to 1.6 million TEU (20 foot equivalent units) per annum to meet current trade growth forecasts. It is unfortunate, therefore, that the Maritime Union of Australia is threatening Asciano with an international campaign to disrupt the company’s Port Botany operations.

“Asciano, like all Australian companies, must be allowed to manage its affairs in a way that it deems appropriate to generate greater efficiencies and improved safety outcomes,” Kilgariff continued. “I note the introduction of automation at Asciano’s Brisbane terminal has not only improved productivity, but has also led to a 90 percent reduction in safety incidents.

“Actively encouraging Asciano’s international customers to avoid its facilities is another example of a union trying to exert greater control over the way a business runs its operations. It sends a very worrying message to any business trying to improve productivity and harms our international reputation as a place to do business. None of this is in Asciano’s, its employees’ or Australia’s long term economic interests.

“ALC looks forward to Asciano being able to roll out its redevelopment fully in due course,” Kilgariff concluded.

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