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Logistics & Fulfilment

Retailers running out of stock as port dispute persists

Retailers have reported delays and significant out-of-stocks as a result of the ongoing dispute between port operator DP World and the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA).

The dispute has led to a two to eight week backlog in shipments and 48,000 shipping containers standing idle nationwide, according to the Australian Retailers Association (ARA).

ARA CEO Paul Zahra said retailers have managed to minimise the negative impact on consumers, but warned the inconvenience of out-of-stocks and delays could soon escalate into higher prices on everyday essentials.

Zahra called for urgent resolution of the dispute to prevent any further adverse impacts for importers, retailers and consumers.  

“Australian retailers need unimpeded access to the global supply chain to operate and this industrial action is starting to have an unacceptable impact on the flow of goods from overseas suppliers into our sector.

“All categories are affected but we are particularly concerned about perishable food, fresh produce, pharmaceuticals and other essential goods including back-to school merchandise.”

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the MUA’s industrial action will continue until January 24 and includes two-hour work stoppages several times a day, bans on loading or unloading trucks and trains, and bans on working overtime.

The MUA is pushing DP World, which handles 40 per cent of the country’s sea freight, to adopt annual wage rises and a union-drafted discipline policy.

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