Australian freight forwarders

MUA launches Industrial Action against VICT


To our valued customers,

Industrial action is due to take place at the Victorian International Container Terminal (VICT) across several days in the next week, and stoppages of work will occur.

VICT reports that it is assessing it's options and will inform terminal users of any implications for trucking and shipping movements.

We will continue to monitor the situation and will advise our customers accordingly.

If you have any questions please contact your local SILA representative.

Thanks & kind regards
SILA Customer Service team

Shipping Containers Logistics Australia 2

Congestion in Sydney Empty Parks


To our valued customers,

We have received multiple notices today alerting industry that there are once again growing issues with Empty Container Park capacity.

Notice has been received that MSC Cooks River will not be able to accept 40ft containers and special equipment effective immediately, however many depots are experiencing issues as outlined below in the notice from Maersk.

Due to some depots not taking certain equipment we may see that the overflow causes congestion at other empty parks which will further exacerbate the issue.

NOTICE from Maersk

Maersk wishes to advise our customers that the industry-wide disruption in Australia has resulted in significant congestion at our empty container depots. To enable safe working conditions, our empty container depots have been forced to intermittently stop acceptance of empty containers into their yards.

Additionally, below is the latest update of our Sydney Depot Acceptance as of today 9th of February.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact your local SILA representative, and we will continue monitor the situation and provide updates as they become available.

Thanks & kind regards

SILA Customer Service

Queensland freight

Australian Steel News – Industry Insider February 2021

The payment of Customs Duty and the applicable Goods and Services Tax (GST) can impose a burden to your business cash flow. In most cases, these costs need to be paid prior to collection of cargo by the agent performing the clearance and in turn you will be asked to pay these costs at the same time so that the agent paying on your behalf is not out of pocket, however there is an avenue for you to defer the payment of GST.

In a previous Industry Insider article information was provided regarding Trusted Trader and deferring payments of Duty. The same can be done with GST which can be a much simpler process than becoming a Trusted trader and could be a quick win for importers looking to assist in Cash Flow pressures.

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) provides a mechanism for importers you defer their GST payments to their Business Activity Statement (BAS) period, this alleviating the need for upfront payment. The ATO Deferred GST Site provides the requirements for importers who hold an Australian Business Number (ABN) and lodge their BAS online and pay electronically.

GST is charged on the Value of the Taxable Importation (VOTI), which put simply if the sum of the value of the goods, International Freight and Insurance Charges plus any Duty Applicable. GST can add up quickly on higher value metal imports such as Stainless and Aluminium making the Deferral mechanism especially handy in these areas.

At the time of entry lodgement the GST costs will appear as deferred on the entry with a copy of the deferral amount being sent to the ATO from Border Force which then appears on your BAS statement for reconciliation and lodgement.

For importers who are responsible to pay their import entry charges, even when dealing with overseas suppliers on a Free into Store basis, can also take advantage of deferred GST as long as they meet the following eligibility requirements.

To participate in the deferred GST scheme, you must:
• have an Australian business number (ABN)
• be registered for GST (you can register for GST and apply for an ABN on the one form if you don't already have an ABN)
• lodge your activity statements online and pay electronically
• lodge your activity statements monthly (if you are currently lodging quarterly, this will be changed to monthly once we receive and approve your application)
• ensure the goods or excise-equivalent goods are for home consumption
• if you are a member of a GST group, ensure your nominated representative is registered for the DGST scheme.

Your company accountant may be able to give you more information on whether your company is eligible to participate.

Written by Simon Pepper
Director – Customs & Logistics

Published in Australian Steel News – Vol 4, Issue 6 – Feb 2021

If you would like any additional information regarding GST deferral please contact Simon Pepper at

Import Document Assessment Delays

Dear Clients,

Who does this notice affect?

All clients who submit documentation to the department for import assessment via the Cargo Online Lodgement System (COLS) or other departmental approved systems.

What has changed?

The department acknowledges that clients are currently experiencing delays in receiving their directions and advises that all efforts are being made to manage increased workloads in order to meet published service standards in the Client Service Charter while also effectively managing biosecurity and imported food risks.

The department has seen an unprecedented demand for services including:

  • document lodgements in COLS increasing on average 6% month on month since August 2020.
  • a 20% increase in imported food and dual (Biosecurity/Food) lodgements.
  • Self-Assessed Clearance (SAC) workload increasing by 58% since May 2020 compared to the same period 2019.
  • 62% increase of clients lodging LRNs seeking same day assessment (this has resulted in an unmanageable escalated queue)

What are we doing to manage immediate workload demand?

The department has implemented a range of strategies to address immediate concerns with the management of workload. These include:

  • Diverting appropriately skilled resources, on a temporary basis, from other areas to augment capacity to assist with document assessment, bookings and phone call workload.
  • Return of staff working from home to offices nationally in line with State based COVID restrictions.  This is expected to help speed up assessment timeframes due to better connectivity to departmental systems (i.e. less reliance on staff’s home based Internet Service Providers that have been struggling though unprecedented numbers of Australians working from home.)
  • Fast tracking the training of further Imported Food Assessment officers to help address the significant and unexpected increase in Imported Food LRNs.
  • Developing an automation solution in the SAC environment.
  • Allocation of reasonable amounts of overtime for staff to process lodgements outside core business hours.
  • Last week, we further implemented a strategy/process that will enable us to identify and prioritise those clients in the escalated queue that have lodged early - prioritising these clients along with those that are genuinely in the escalated queue (i.e. reducing the priority of those LRNs that are being lodged late in hopes of getting priority clearance).

The Biosecurity Operations Division will also be expediting the progression of initiatives to help minimise the department’s involvement in lower risk activities where there is a proven compliance history. Initial discussions were held with peak industry bodies on 22 December, with work commencing internally within the department directly after that meeting.  More information will be forthcoming in February regarding this work.

We are also in the final stages of development with our document assessment automation, which will reduce manual, resource intensive functions and speed up the assessment process.

There are a number of other medium/longer term initiatives underway, however we recognise these larger reforms will not address the immediate challenges we are experiencing.

How can clients assist?

Aligned with the workload increase, the department has seen late document lodgements in COLS increase by 62% from last year. The department would like to advise clients of information that may assist in avoiding delays in document assessment:

  • Please ensure that documents are lodged well in advance of arrival of the goods (noting the recent changes we have made to assist the prioritisation process as outlined above).
  • Ensure that documents and other information is lodged completely and accurately and in line with the departments minimum documentary requirements and import conditions.
  • Do not provide unnecessary documents, as this can result in longer assessment times as we work through sometimes 50+ documents to find the 4 or 5 required by the minimum documents policy.
  • Ensure any specific additional information is included in the ‘additional information’ field in COLS.
  • Please do not repeatedly call or email the department checking on the status of a lodgement for document assessment – this compounds the delays.
  • Regardless of the expected assessment outcome, nominate a valid Approved Arrangement (AA) inspection location, preferably with the AA registration number and name, to avoid additional processing delays.

Kind Regards

SILA Customer Service

Import from China



Dear Customer,

We are sure you are well aware by now of the struggles occurring in the international supply chain:

• Huge manufacturing demand
• Container shortages in major manufacturing countries
• Congestion at ports all around the globe
• Chassis and driver shortages
• Container Park capacity

In addition to the above is the congestion at major transhipment hubs.

Once the difficulty of securing space on a vessel and sourcing the necessary containers is overcome, the next major hurdle affecting the supply chain is congestion and delays at transhipment hubs. Finally after the goods arrive at the final port of discharge, the supply chain also faces (depending on destination) congestion within the port, lack of chassis/trucks, drivers, and ultimately a place to de-hire the empty container.

This article from Seatrade highlights delays at transhipment ports around the globe:

If you have any questions about the state of the supply chain and how your shipments are impacted - please contact your local SILA Global representative.

Thanks & kind regards
SILA Global Customer Service

Shipping Container Transport Logistics

Australian Steel News – Industry Insider January 2021

January 2021

The Department of Home Affairs in conjunction with the Australian Border Force is seeing an uptake among importers and exporters of its Australian Trusted Trader program. The program is a voluntary partnership between
accredited businesses and the Australian Government (Border Force) with the aim to streamline and facilitate trade and enhance supply chain security.

Benefits to members continue to evolve, indeed members are encouraged to make suggestions on improvements to the program. The program offers certain benefits to importers which could be extremely helpful to their business in affecting cash flow and administrative work.

One of the benefits is Duty Deferral. Becoming a member allows you to arrange duty deferral, including any dumping duty, in a similar way to GST, allowing payments to occur after the goods have been imported. This could help businesses which usually may need to pay large amounts prior to cargo collection. Duty deferral allows extra time for the payment and thus may reduce interest payable and other financing costs.

Another benefit within the program is Origin Waiver. Australia has many Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and paying duty is not a huge burden for some businesses. However, the issue then arises of taking advantage of FTAs and ensuring you have the correct documentation (Free Trade Certificates) at the time of entry. Origin Waiver under the Trusted Trader program allows an accredited business to enter goods under an FTA without the need for a certificate. This does not apply to China FTAs at present, but may do so in the future.

Becoming a member of the Trusted Trader program is well worth considering. The website has a sub category which details additional benefits which may apply to your particular business.

Written by Simon Pepper
Director – Customs & Logistics

Published in Australian Steel News – Vol 4, Issue 5 – Jan 2021

We encourage our customers to become Trusted Traders and are happy to assist. To find our more about the application process please contact Simon Pepper -

Shipping Containers Logistics Australia

2021 commences with record high freight rates and container shortages


Thank goodness 2020 is over - but will 2021 be any better for supply chain management? COVID, congestion, container shortages etc continue to plague industry. Loadstar provide some insight to how the market is behaving in this article.

M5 East Toll Increase - 1st January 2021

To our valued customers,

Please be advised that M5 East Toll has increased from 1st January 2021 to:

$21.70 one way

$43.40 return

We thank you for your understanding, continued support & should you require any further Information please feel free to contact the SILA Customer Service Team.

Please pass this on to any staff within your business whom the notification is relevant.

Kind Regards,

SILA Customer Service

Logistics services australia

IFCBAA MEMBER UPDATE - Port & Empty Container Park Outlook


To our valued customers,

Please see below International Forwarders & Customs Brokers Association of Australia (IFCBAA) update on Ports & Empty Container Parks in Australia.

IFCBAA would like to update members on the current port and ECPs situation and outlook in the short term.

There are a lot of moving parts contributing to the issue in Sydney as follows - some of which applies to Melbourne and Brisbane - and Perth to a lesser extent.

• Ships are arriving full and some bunching is occurring to get a berth window
• Stevedores crane rate is said to be averaging 28 lifts per hour
• Stevedores are limiting exchanges to turnaround ships as quickly as possible and not delay them in port to load more empties and exacerbate bunching and port omissions. (*exchanges are the total lifts off and onto a vessel in port – if the stevedore allows 4000 TEUs exchanges and there are 3000 TEUs imports to unload, only 1000 TEUs of export and empties can be loaded)
• This week a shipping line requested to exchange 4500 TEUs and was allowed 3200
• Under the circumstances, sweeper vessels obtaining a window to evacuate thousands of containers is a challenge - combined with instances of one stevedore unloading a vessel at Port Botany and then sending it out to anchor and then it returns a few days later to another stevedore to load empties.
• Whilst some lines have evacuated bulk quantities of boxes, there is still a backlog to clear at the ECPs and stevedores – SAL and NSW Ports estimates 38,000-42,000 empty TEUs backlog. Worth noting is the efforts by SAL and the major shipping lines throughout December, in working to increase the number of bulk empty container movements out of Port Botany/Sydney based ECPs
• Some inaccuracies in Container Chain data has been detected by IFCBAA, which has been adding to the process issues being experienced
• IFCBAA continues to push for transparency for industry for details of ECP capacity/utilisation, to date this information has been withheld, with IFCBAA having now elevated this issue to the CEO of NSW Ports, in addition to raising concerns on the ECP operating hours restrictions over the Xmas/NY period
• Protesting to SAL and the shipping lines continues by IFCBAA in relation to the continuation of the levying of congestion surcharges onto industry for full container import and export movements through Port Botany
The outlook for evacuation of empties volumes varies depending on the shipping line. Some lines have ad-hoc sweeper vessels arranged over Xmas and into the New Year, but if the bunching of scheduled vessel rotations continues in these numbers and carrying huge import TEUs loads, it will be a while before the empties backlog reduces substantially.

For the most part, the ECP’s are busy but coping with the high import volumes, with the exception of Cosco’s OCS ECP, which has been congested and operating above capacity. The issue has been bubbling away in the background now for several weeks with the transport companies managing the best they can. With the OCS going to a 24 hour booking has sent everyone over the edge, exacerbated by the short weeks of the festive season - detention bills will follow……

Apart from the Cosco/OCS issues, Port of Melbourne Container Park, Medlog and Cargolink have a mix of amended access, hours & capacity issues which haven’t helped.
Vessel scheduling is contributing, with some vessels either being delayed or omitting Melbourne and thereby providing fewer opportunities to reposition empties. November export of empty containers was up 22.4% refer to attached POM trade report. Shipping Lines are committing to bringing in sweeper vessels to clear up the backlog as reported by SAL.

Port of Melbourne has put in place short term licence agreements with several landside transport operators to provide them with additional land (within the PoM boundary) to use as overflow container or truck storage.

The VTA hasn’t made any public statement on issues with ECP’s and Port of Melbourne is monitoring the situation.

IFCBAA will continue to engage with the stakeholders to improve the situation, although the congestion issues are likely to continue for a while longer due to the systemic moving parts outlined.

The Port has increased its usage – a combination of the peak season, increased import TEUs volume and knock-effect of ships omitting Sydney and offloading in the Port of Brisbane.

• Delays are occurring at all terminals
• Patricks and DPW are automated but still having delays and wait times increasing
• Hutchison is badly impacted, with truck waiting times of 5 – 9 hrs
• Carriers cannot continue to absorb waiting time and are passing on the costs
• Carriers are hopeful that the situation recovers post-Christmas but as wholesale, retail and building trades industries are booming it may take a while longer to improve
• ECPs in Brisbane are pretty full.
• Exports are down since COVID hit and empties are not being used or evacuated significantly
• Ships omitting Sydney and offloading in Brisbane have added empty container volumes into the mix
• 2 ECPs have given notice that they will not be accepting charges for waiting time detention on drop off, eventhough they have accepted slots through Containerchain.
• The slotting system appears not to match the timing of unloading and loading of empties at the ECP.
• Bottlenecking is occurring and truck queues are constant and waiting up to 3 hours
• IFCBAA recommends the ECPs and Containerchain spread the slot times further apart to match their service capabilities
• At the weekend, the Port is open but ECPs are closed, so carriers are unable to offload an empty container on the weekend.

• Fremantle Port is busy with instances of terminals congestion with increased volumes and knock-on effect of the issues experienced on the East coast, with revised vessel rotations and port omissions.
• DP World Protected Industrial Action over Xmas and New Year will further impact vessel and container operations
• ECPs and container de-hires are busy but no real concerns

A major focus for IFCBAA has been on the Sydney Port Botany congestion situation, which has impacted vessel schedules and stevedores operations in Sydney and created a ripple effect to other ports, leading to port omissions, severe congestion at the ports and ECPs overcapacity. The situation is further exacerbated by the imposition of the Port Congestion Surcharge by several lines.

IFCBAA has expended an enormous amount of time and energy lobbying government ministers and as a member of TfNSW ECWG attended 12 meetings over the past weeks and engaged with the SAL, shipping lines, stevedores, Ports, transport providers and members and in the media, in an effort to improve the flow of containers and unblock the ECP overcapacity of empties.

The seeds of positive change from that engagement are now starting to see progress being made in the ports where congestion has been occurring, it is now up to the stevedores and ECPs to work their schedules together to ensure that the level of empty container evacuations available to them, does occur.

Whilst the shipping lines are endeavouring to evacuate bulk numbers of empty containers from all ports, the strong import volumes continue to undermine this effort. It appears that there will be more empties evacuated over the Christmas and New Year Period, with a number of shipping lines arranging for the bulk evacuation of empties via sweeper vessels.

Members experiencing sustained container de-hire issues can provide IFCBAA with examples where excessive time periods are incurred waiting for empty container ECP dehire nominations and dates; constant re-directions at short notice and for other significant issues relating to information surrounding empty container dehires. Such issues will be continue to be raised directly with senior executives of the relevant shipping lines.

IFCBAA will continue to engage with stakeholders at each port to improve outcomes for our members.



If you have any questions regarding the impact of the current situation of Australian ports and empty container parks on your supply chain please contact your local SILA representative.

Thanks & kind regards

SILA Customer Service

Shipping Logistics

Vessel scheduling hits record delays as demand surges


In what is no surprise to anyone in the industry, the latest Global Liner Performance Report released by Sea-Intelligence highlights just how significantly vessel scheduling has been impacted throughout 2020. In Q2 many carriers blanked numerous sailings to maintain schedule reliability, but as the market rebounded and demand increased – the delays have only gotten worse.

The delays experienced this year have hit record highs, with the Asia – US trade in particular being impacted heavily, and it’s expected to get worse before it gets better.

However, it’s not all the carriers fault, and Sea Intelligence Consulting Lars Jensen wrote in an online post “The reality is that many ports suffer from catastrophic indigestion due to the sudden boom in demand owing to the pandemic effect. Such port congestion leads to massive waiting times for simply getting a slot at a berth. It would not be reasonable to purely blame the carriers for this dramatic drop in performance,”

This article from Freight Waves outlines the findings in the Global Liner Performance Report.

If you have any questions regarding your supply chain and the impact of the scheduling delays – please contact your local SILA representative.