The following has been received from Freight & Trade Alliiance (FTA).
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has implemented widespread emergency measures on imported containers from U.S., Italy, Germany, France and other countries, via chemical fumigation or other approved treatment methods, to combat the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB).
Australia’s major importers are reporting significant disruptions to their international supply chain operations, as well as increased costs of importing essential consumer goods.
Several international cargo vessels have been turned away from Australia while in Australian waters.
Industry bodies are now appealing to the Federal Minister, the Hon. David Littleproud MP, to launch an Independent Inquiry into these events:
Comments from Paul Zalai, Director of Freight & Trade Alliance:
The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) biosecurity threat needs to be addressed to protect the Australian agricultural sector and community from this pest. Equally, urgent government attention is required to address the crippling effect of current processes on the Australian trade and logistics sectors.
In extreme instances, total vessels and their loads are being turned away from our shores due to detection of the pest. For those that have been fortunate to have their cargo arrive, thousands have been stung by the onshore delays caused by inadequate offshore treatment, failure in government systems and processes and a local industry inadequately prepared to deal with the growing onshore treatment task.
The direct costs to stevedores for storage and in detention fees to shipping lines for the late return of unpacked empty containers are rapidly escalating, adding salt to the wounds for importers failing to meet year end supply demands. Some freight forwarders have resorted to desperate and expensive measures by using a combination of sea cargo movements from origin and transhipping cargo at intermediary ports, using airfreight to land goods into Australia. While a perfectly legitimate practice, it is anticipated that it will only be a matter of time before cargo arriving by air faces similar biosecurity scrutiny as that by sea with the potential threat of choking our major airports.
The problem is not going to go away.
Forget about high risk countries being targeted for treatment, indications from governments is that by next season (September to April) we will be talking about treatment of goods from high risk continents, such is the spread of the pest throughout Europe, Asia and other parts of the world.