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Port Botany dispute a major threat to the economy

"The continuing industrial disruption at Port Botany has become a major threat to many key sectors of the economy," Mark Goodsell, NSW Head of the national employer association Ai Group said today.

"Companies expecting critical materials and equipment from overseas suppliers have been told that current delays will worsen to 2 or 3 weeks, with no relief in sight. In addition, they are being levied with congestion fees of US$300-$600 per container as shippers seek to recover their costs from port delays. Some companies are reporting these extra costs at tens of thousands of dollars per week and others will have to spend millions of dollars to build inventory as a hedge against further delays.

"Ai Group has been approached by deeply concerned members in many sectors including food manufacturing, energy and utility supplies, construction supplies and whitegoods sectors among others. They face shortages that will prevent them stocking shelves, supplying contracts and completing projects.

"Major shipping lines are now avoiding Sydney.

"The timing of this dispute could not be worse for fragile supply chains. At a time of great stress for all companies and their employees and families, this is a self-inflicted wound.

"Industry would welcome the intervention of the Federal Government in the current Fair Work Commission proceedings, aimed at bringing the industrial action to an end," Mr Goodsell said.

Further comment: Mark Goodsell – 0418 408 871