Essential Services ??

Monday, March 23, 2020
We would have all now seen that every State and Territory in Australia have declared a "lockdown" and specified, particularly in relation to places of gathering, that they must be closed as well as noting requirements for people crossing borders. Of course the world cannot STOP and essential services will be required to operate so that the community can access food, petrol, pharmacies, medical facilities, etc.

Ports and Airports will continue to operate and the associated logistics chain will be required to support the clearance and movement of freight so supplies are maintained.

Whilst Forwarders, Customs Brokers, Depots etc have not been specially mentioned, Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA) have sought assurance from the respective states, territories and national government (please see below) that theses service providers all form part of the logistics chain and will be seen as essential services. 

Our approach in brief is

"In the event of an eventual lock down, we need critical sectors of the international supply chain operating such as freight forwarders, customs brokers, empty container parks, licensed depots, ports, airports and transport operators included in the definition of "essential services".

It is essential that we have trade professionals operating to ensure biosecurity and customs requirements are met and the logistics from the importer / exporter to the border have business continuity.
The supply chain is so fragile at the best of times – removing a critical link could completely bring remaining international air / sea freight to a grinding halt.

Initial response, in part, from Nicole Lockwood, Chair - Freight & Logistics Council of WA, the body being used as the central industry advisory point to the West Australian government on COVID-19, was " the intention is definitely to have all related services exempt "

Susie Mackay, Executive Director Freight Customer Strategy and Technology expressed a similar sentiment in a bi-lateral engagement with FTA this morning recognising the need for the above listed trade entities.

See announcement from the Port of Melbourne CEO, Brendan Bourke

Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA) has also made initial contact the Department of Infrastructure that has overarching policy. Remaining states and territories have also been contacted.

FTA will continue to push for clarity on the term "essential services" to ensure our industry provides that critical link to maintain a safe and secure supply chain.