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MUA takes out Industrial Action on Swedish towing corporation, Svitzer.

MUA Protected Industrial Action against Svitzer Australia

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The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has taken Protected Industrial Action against Swedish towing corporation, Svitzer and their operations over the coming days.

The Industrial Action is likely to impact scheduled vessel arrival / departures in some ports around the nation and therefore cause delays.

The following outlines the protected industrial action impacting the ports:

  • Adelaide and Port Pirie, South Australia: a stoppage of work for 24 hours duration 
    commencing at 12:01 am on Friday 13 November 2020.
  • Sydney (Port Jackson and Port Botany): bans on captive shifts from12:01 am on Friday 13 November 2020 through to 11:59 pm on Friday 13 November 2020.
  • Geelong and Melbourne: a stoppage of work for 4 hours duration commencing at 8:00 am on Friday 13 November 2020.
  • Brisbane: a stoppage of work for 4 hours duration commencing at 5:00 am on Friday 13 November 2020.

The Svitzer management has advised that the action in Sydney will not impact towage services as the Protected Industrial Action is only against “captive” crews. Svitzer will continue to service vessels in Sydney by calling in the crew as required.

We will continue to monitor the landscape and provide updates where necessary.

TGL Team

TGL summarises the Australian 2020/21 Budget with its impact on the logistics industry and its workers.

Australian 2020/21 Budget & it impacts on Logistics

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The Australian 2020/2021 Budget announcement brings positive changes to the working Australians despite the trillion-dollar debt the country faces due to the impacts of Covid-19.

With many alterations in the budget accounting for our national workforce, maternity cover,  health services, infrastructure, business owners, the environment, and tech, it is important to understand how the new budget will impact the logistics industry and its workers.

A commitment to make trade simpler was a key theme announced in the 20/21 budget. With a focus on simplifying measures to assist our agriculture exporters and continue the development of the anticipated single window trade system. Also due to Covid-19, the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM) has also been extended.

Below provides a summary of the key developments with direct relation to the logistics industry.

SIMPLIFYING TRADE

A number of measures were announced that will assist in simplifying the trade process:

  • $7.8 million to reduce compliance complexity for Australian business
  • $12.8 million over two years from 2020-21 to develop a new border intervention model for sea and air cargo
  • An extension of the Trusted Trader Scheme for a further 3 years. The Government has forecast that this measure will reduce revenue by $7.5 million over 3 years.  It is not immediately clear why deferring duty should result in a reduction of, and not simply a deferral, of revenue.

The Government said “Setting the foundations for a Trade Single Window is an important part of this work and will build on reforms of trade regulations and processes to make it easier for businesses to integrate into global supply chains.”  It is noted that currently, 28 agencies regulate trade at the border, applying more than 120 pieces of Commonwealth regulation.  For most traders, it would be enough if the Australian Border Force and the DAWE streamlined their border activities.

INTERNTIONAL FREIGHT ASSSITANCE MECHANISM (IFAM)

The Australian Government announced it is committing an additional $317.1 million in funding to the IFAM support mechanism and has planned to extend to 30 June 2021.  This initiative will continue to keep Australian farmers in business by ensuring they can get their high-quality produce into key export markets and that they stay connected with their overseas customers, and ensure access to vital imports including medical supplies. Due to the collapse of passenger flights, this has left a huge hole in air freight availability, so an extension of the IFAM is necessary to continue the smooth flow of trade.

WASTE EXPORT BAN

The Government has provided funding to support the ban of certain types of waste from 1 January 2021.  The Department of Agriculture, Water, and Environment (DAWE) will be responsible for administering a licensing and declaration scheme to enable the export of waste materials. It must be demonstrated that sufficient processing has occurred prior to export to prevent harm to the environment or human health overseas. Therefore decreasing the amount of avoidable excess waste.

DIVERSIFYING TRADE

The Government has previously hinted at a need to be less reliant on Chinese trade and has committed $6.6 million to “expanding and diversifying trade”. How this will occur has not been stated, but the Government has not been subtle in linking the measure with the free trade negotiations with the EU and the UK.  Related to this, the budget estimates continue to make provision for a Free Trade Agreement with India and the conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

For those waiting for a duty free European car, 2022-23 could be the year, with duty on passenger motor vehicles expected to fall from $340 million on 21/22 to $100 in 22/23.

UPGRADES TO AGRICULTURAL EXPORT TRADE SYSTEMS

The Australian Government will invest $222 million over four years in modern agricultural export trade ICT systems. The Government hopes that the funding will reduce the impact to trade from system outages and reduce the regulatory burden on exporters.  There will also be $106 million over four years into the targeted regulation of exported goods.  Much of the funding will be to take into the digital age an export approval system that is still in many instances paper-based.

LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE

All partners in the supply chain can expect steady volumes over the next year.  While exports and imports are expected to each fall by 9%, these decreases are caused by large falls in the import and exports of services, such as education and tourism. The trade of goods should remain steady, especially for the end of 2020 with the lead up to the festive season. However, it’s largely guesswork as there has probably never been a harder time predicting the future economic performance of our key trading partners.


An overview of the major budget development areas on a national level.

INFRASTRUCTURE

Directly impacting domestic freight services within the logistics industry, the Australian government is allocating a total of $10 billion dollars to the redevelopment of major infrastructure areas to keep Australia running smoothly. This $10b is directed towards:

  • $7.5 billion in road and rail projects spread across all states and territories.
    • Around $3b of this will be used to fast track major road projects throughout all states, decreasing the overall travel time and improvements to the road quality and safety. To read more about which specific projects are fast-tracked, click here.
  • $53 million in gas infrastructure
  • $211 million provided for Australia’s domestic fuel security.
TECHNOLOGY

To assist in tracking and online services within the logistics industry, the allocations for national technology  are impressive:

  • $4.5b NBN upgrade will replace copper lines and older hardware
  • $29.3 million for 5G trials in industries including agriculture and manufacturing
  • $1.67b for cybersecurity
  • $260m for digital identity system for businesses
  • $3bn compo scheme “for damage caused” by our national space program
ENVIRONMENT

With sustainability and environment health being a major trend in logistics currently, the Australian government are listening to its citizens by becoming a more ecofriendly nation.

One allocation of the budget that could directly impact all areas of freight is the $1.9 billion dollar funding to support low emissions and renewable technologies, helping to lower emissions and address climate change. This could drive change in fuel types, air traffic, shipping lines, and sustainable alternatives for domestic freight.

Another that could directly impact sea freight imports and exports is the $47.4m that is being spread over four years for ocean health. This allocation of the budget could see actions for cleaning up the ocean and our beaches but also the frequency of cargo ships, fuel types, and sustainable ports.

TGL continues to support our trade partners by assisting wherever possible and providing information when requested.

We will continue to monitor the Australian 2020/2021 budget landscape and provide updates where necessary.

TGL Team

CMA CGM Port Congestion Surcharge Update

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Following their surcharge update on the 14 September 2020, CMA CMG has announced they will be retracting their Sydney Port Congestion Surcharge. 

The surcharge will not be applied to any Trans-Tasman shipments both East and West bound. 

The surcharge will only be applied as per the below guidelines;

  • Export cargo for all vessels (non USA trades) departing Sydney on or after 17th September 
  • Import cargo to Sydney for all vessels (non USA trades) departing origin on or after 17th September 
  • Export cargo for all vessels (USA trades) departing Sydney on or after 10th October 
  • Import cargo to Sydney for all vessels (USA trades) received at origin on or after 10th October 
  • This will not apply to Trans-Tasman, Sofrana ANL and ANL Coastal trades. 

The surcharge of USD $285 per TEU for Full Container Loads and USD $13.00 per w|m for Less than Container Load shipments. 

To read more about the current Sydney port congestion, click here.

We will continue to monitor the landscape and provide updates where necessary.

TGL Team

Roadmap to a COVIDSafe Australia: COVID-19 Update

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison has revealed the National Cabinet’s proposed 3-step plan to ease restrictions across Australia.

The announcement highlighted that each state and territory leader will have the ability to decide on the best timeline given their individual circumstances. In an effort to ensure the flattening of the curve, the “Roadmap to a COVIDsafe Australia”, will be reviewed every 3 weeks to monitor progress.

According to the Department of Health, the first and most important step was to reconnect with friends and family. Step 1 allows small groups of up to 5 visitors in people’s homes and 10 people at outdoor gatherings. Physical distancing and hygiene were to be maintained to stop the spread.

Further, step 2 increased gathering numbers and the reopening of affected businesses. Moreover, Step 3 further increases the number of people at gatherings to 100. People are also able to return to the workforce and interstate travel has restarted.

The progress and continual “flattening of the curve” has placed Australia in a positive position and moves us closer to recovery. This is great news for the logistics industry. With restaurants and bars opening with limitations, trains, and buses increasing the number of people allowed on board, it’s a step towards a recovered community. New South Wales Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, announced the reopening of schools full-time from May 25. These movements are positive steps for the economy.

On the other hand, a downfall of there recent updates refers to the significant tariff China placed on the export of Australian Barley. At least 50% of Australia’s Barley is exported to China. Therefore, tensions are increasing between Australia and China. These tensions began with Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s involvement in the promotion of an investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 virus.

Australian barley farmers are facing an 80% tariff on their crops. The introduction of such tariffs potentially blocking them from selling barley to their most lucrative market. The percentage is made up of two tariffs introduced on the export of barley. The first 73.6% tariff and the second 6.9% tariff relate to claims China has made against Australia. These claims refer to the alleged dumping of barley, selling the crop for more than it costs farmers to grow. The second claim relates to the subsidization of farmers by the Australian government.

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham is currently deciding on whether an appeal to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Contact us today for more information on how TGL can help you with your import and export needs.

TGL just got ATT approved!

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We are very excited to announce that we are now an accredited member of the Australian Trusted Trader program! Australian Trusted Trader was administered by Home Affairs alongside the Australian Border Force (ABF) for companies dealing with imports and exports. At TGL, we are committed to simplifying processes for our customers and this accreditation will do just that. We know all too well that you need your goods moved in a timely manner and with minimal costs incurred and our commitment to the ATT program will help us to help you.

What this means for our customers:

  • Priority processing
  • Priority treatment – reduced waiting times
  • Seamless border experiences
  • Origin waiver benefits

And many more. Through our compliant trade practices and secure international trade lines we are proud to be ATT accredited and the program is continually growing, adding more benefits and helping to streamline the process even more for you.

Australian Government Introduces International Freight Assistance Mechanism

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The Australian Government Trade and Investment Commission introduces a new $110 million dollar International Freight Assistance Mechanism to assist with Australia’s agriculture and seafood exports to international markets.

The international markets key to Australia are China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), but this list may expand depending on demand.

The scheme will also consist of flights bringing essential items back into Australia in response to the current pandemic. This will assist producers of high-value exports including seafood, red meat, dairy and horticulture.

The increase in flights is also welcomed by those in the trade sector because Covid-19 had severely impacted the number of flights to and from Australia.

The Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham explained that “90% of our air freight cargo usually goes in the bellies of passenger aircraft. But with very few international passenger flights leaving Australia currently, our exporters are facing major hurdles on how to move this cargo.

Through the better coordination of freight leaving Australia, we can restore key freight routes and establish more frequent flights to our key markets so that our agriculture and fishery exporters can deliver their products to customers on time”.

The Agricultural Minister David Littleproud added “We’re backing our farmers and fishers by making sure they can get more of their high-quality product into overseas markets. This is about reducing the barriers our agricultural and fisheries exporters face, so they can get back to focusing on producing the best and highest-quality product in the world”.

The International Freight Assistance Mechanism has already proved to be a success with 560 registered businesses and 50 flights booked under the list of high-value products. Initiatives like this are exactly what Australia needs to help boost the economy after the uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

Stay up to date with the current news relating to the foreign and logistics scene HERE

Virgin Australia announces voluntary administration

BREAKING NEWS: Airline Virgin Australia into administration

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Yesterday Virgin Australia announced that they are entering voluntary administration.

The airline had been operating in Australia for over 20 years with 56 destinations around the world.

The Covid-19 outbreak severely impacted the aviation sector right from the absolute beginning. Starting with passenger flights being restricted/grounded and staff were stood down.

This impact was also felt by the freight & logistics sector, which saw air freight prices dramatically increase and the availability for space became extremely limited.

Last Friday, it was announced that the Federal Government would assist Virgin airlines financially to continue operating its domestic flights and reinstate 200 staff. However, the struggling airline claimed it was not enough to continue operating due to their increasing $5 billion debt.

They had requested a $1.4 billion loan from the government, but Scott Morrison insisted that the Government should not need to step in and help. This administration from the airline giant has created a loss of around 10,000 workers.

Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group, posted on his Instagram page insisting that this is not the end of Virgin Australia saying:

“I am so proud of all of you and everything we have achieved together.”

“I know how devastating the news today will be to you all. In most countries, federal governments have stepped in, in this unprecedented crisis for aviation, to help their airlines. Sadly, that has not happened in Australia.”

He continues “This is not the end for Virgin Australia and its unique culture. Never one to give up, I want to assure all of you – and our competitor – that we are determined to see Virgin Australia back up and running soon. We will work with Virgin Australia’s administrators and management team, with investors and with the government to make this happen and create a stronger business. Ready to provide even more value to customers, competition in the market, stimulate the economy, and jobs for our wonderful people.”

“Virgin Australia has captured the hearts of all Australians. That is down to all of you – past and present – who made it the best airline to fly within Australia.”

“This is not the end for Virgin Australia, but I believe a new beginning. I promise that we will work day and night to turn this into reality.”

Stay up to date with the latest news impacting the freight and logistics scene HERE

Coronavirus: PM Scott Morrison interviewed on unemployment, lifting restrictions

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Yesterday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke to Nine News Australia about various topics that are critical to the quality of life for Australians in the coming months.

The interview explains topics such as:

– The unemployment rates of Australia

– The Jobkeeper program

– The easing of the lockdown restrictions

– The serious financial difficulties faced by airlines Virgin and Qantas.

– The reopening of wet markets

For more information on any of these topics, the TGL team provides you with a summary below.

Unemployment is set to soar to its highest rate in almost three decades, with 1.4 million Australians expected to be out of work. But as Scott Morrison said, the 

“ JobKeeper program means we will be able to limit that devastation and also we’ve got the doubling of the Jobseeker program which means that those people that do find themselves employed will be able to gain access to the support that we’ve never seen in this country before.”

We are entering a double crisis without precedent: a health crisis and an economic crisis. Our prime minister also adds:

Our balance sheet which means we’ve been able to bring the budget back into balance, which means we are able to do the things we are doing now and cushion that blow but it is still a big blow. I don’t want to lessen that in terms of how we speak of it. It is a serious impact on our economy and it is impacting people’s livelihoods. It is heartbreaking, but despite all that hardship Australian’s have responded so well and there are doing their best. What we asked them to do over the Easter weekend they did. We are keeping on top of this virus but we’ve got to keep keeping on top of it and provide the economic supports that we can, the lifeline that we’ve provided through JobKeeper and Jobseeker to get people through to the other side.”

For the time being, the Prime minister does not plan to extend the Jobkeeper program to casuals or foreign workers. He considers that they already have access to things like rental assistance and a range of other benefits which means they are certainly not forgotten. Then our Prime Minister goes on to say that: 

“It is the strongest safety net we’ve ever seen in this country for those who are out of work which is now in place. We’ve got the JobKeeper program to keep 6 million Australians connected to their employer, so this is unprecedented in its scale. Over $200 billion has been committed to supporting our economy for people in the economy, their businesses, their jobs to get through to the other side.”

On a subject that is even more pleasing: the easing of the restrictions of the lockdown. Thanks to the measures established and respected by the Australians, as the Prime Minister proudly points out, the number of new cases per day has been drastically reduced. From 460 on 28 March 2020 to 28 on 14 April 2020. However, the Government wants to avoid the same fate as Singapore or Sweden where the virus has just taken off again. That’s why the Prime Minister is asking the Australians to continue to respect the security measures put in place several weeks ago.

“We are looking at how that can be achieved but I wouldn’t want to mislead people, we are still many weeks to go on this and it’s important to keep on top of the virus. While people have been amazing in complying with what we’ve been asking for, we can’t allow that to be eroded by the premature easing of restrictions.” says Scott Morrison.

In regard to the economic difficulties faced by Virgin and Qantas, the First Ministerial is very clear. Besides sectoral aid to the aviation sector, the Government will not provide personalised assistance to these two companies. He adds that:

 “The Transport Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister has been working with those airlines around domestic routes. They’ve already worked together with them on international routes that are vital not just in bringing people home but also to support much needed freight and transfer of medical supplies.”

Finally, the Prime Minister expressed his views on the decision of the World Health Authority to reopened wet markets where this virus is supposed to have come from. 

“I think that’s unfathomable quite frankly. We need to protect the world against potential sources of outbreaks of these types of viruses. It’s happened too many times, I’m totally puzzled by this decision. We don’t have them here in Australia and I’m just puzzled by that decision but we’ve got to stay focussed on what’s right in front of us and what we are doing here in Australia and the policies we are putting in place and the big responses economically and health-wise.”

For more information regarding the update, click here or refer to the video below.

A TGL Initiative to show our support

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In view of the looming economic crisis caused by the COVID19 pandemic, we at Think Global Logistics (TGL) understands the importance of spending money as it is the bedrock of all economies.

So aside from the practical hygiene precautions, we would like to stress the importance of SPENDING as this is the handwashing equivalent measure if we are to keep our economy healthy especially during these uncertain times. 

To spend is to create revenue and in turn create the lifeblood to all businesses especially small to medium-sized businesses, CASHFLOW. Governments around the world are taking action with their stimulus announcement to guard against the failure of SMEs so we at TGL have decided to do our bit for our Customers. 

For the month of April, all existing and new customers will receive free customs clearance to the value of AUD 100 per shipment. We know this amount will not solve the crisis but we hope that through this gesture we will encourage our community to adopt similar measures.

Because the old adage remains true, united we stand, divided we fall!

Financial stimulus packages for Australian’s businesses

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Since the upsurge of the Coronavirus, the commercial world has been the target of the unexpected event. More precisely, Australia, which has its main trading partners within Asia but especially with China.

So with Australia facing the pending economic crisis the Government has announced its COVID19 financial stimulus package in an attempt to halt and slow the dramatic slip in commerce due to the quarantine realities needed to stave off the virus spread and in turn avoid Australia slipping into recession.

The Morrison government announced its $17.6 billion stimulus package in hopes to stimulate the economy and assist small and medium-sized enterprises to keeps its workforce. 

Firstly, to help small businesses (less than 50 million turnover) with a tax reduction and provide them with up to $25,000 to help them pay their salary costs but also the ability to immediate asset write-off up to $150k. This is aimed at protecting Australians from unemployment. Then, large companies (less than 500 million turnover) will also be supported in the future. 

With 11 billions of this package to be spent before July 2020 and the remainder to be injected in to the economy by July 2021, it is an aggressive move which not many business owners will complain about even if it means that Australia will not be on track to achieve a budget surplus which until now has been the Government trump calling card. 

All in all, it is a very much welcomed move as Australia faces down what has now become a global pandemic.

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