Continuing Supply Chain Challenges
Dear Valued Customers
We would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a happy new year & all the best for 2022.
Whilst we look forward to 2022 with the view to enjoy greater freedoms and embrace the new normality of “living with COVID-19”, unfortunately the new year’s hangover of external supply chain challenges faced in 2021 continue to significantly impact our industryand operations.
These are truly exceptional circumstances i.e. labour shortages, COVID-19, international shipping, container park congestion and lack of available pallets all of which will continue to put pressure on operational capacity, service levels, KPI performance and of course, costs.
- Labour shortages
- The new highly contagious Omicron COVID variant is resulting in additional complications with unplanned absences across all permanent and casual/ agency and container crew workforce categories. It is likely that Australia will follow similar trends as seen in Europe where up to 25% of the operational workforce may be impacted through this next phase at any given time.
- As cases surge and are seen to nearly double overnight, PCR testing stations are temporarily closing to catch up with the backlog and now the government has changed the definition of close contacts. Where this will leave our industry is unknown at this point, although it is likely the government may mandate future policy to “essential providers”.
- All our sites around the country continue to be challenged with limited availability of labour . Unfortunately, this has now become a day-to-day proposition where we are unable to forecast throughout at each site, given unplanned leave because of the volume of positive cases and close contacts.
- As a result of the labour shortage, the cost of casual labour (and container crews) continues to rise as in other industries, as demand exceeds supply.
- Terminal Operations and Empty container parks
- Wharf Terminals are also impacted by COVID related labour absenteeism and with fluctuating incoming volumes this continues to place huge pressure on wharf cartage companies to work around the clock to take containers off the wharf. This combined with a shortage of labour crews to unpack containers and ongoing congestion at empty container dehire parks will continue to pressure on detention free days across the entire network.
- National pallet shortage
- Chep and Loscam still are unable to keep up with current demand due to:
- Shortages of wood to make additional pallets.
- Increased inventory holdings becoming the norm, leading to the demand of pallets outstripping supply.
- Fewer pallet returns to the pool.
- The lack of available pallets and limited floats of supply can impact the time taken to physically receipt stock into the warehouse.
All the above are outside of our direct control but we as always will work tirelessly to try & reduce the impact on what we can control.
We thank you for your ongoing support & understanding in these exceptional circumstances, any questions or queries please reach out to our Transport team.
Keeping you updated
BRi Transport Team
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