The New South Wales Government has eased restrictions on storage heights for full and empty containers at Port Botany to allow some parks to stack up to seven containers high.

NSW Minister for Transport and Roads, Andrew Constance, said the changes were needed because fewer vessels were visiting the port, resulting in fewer opportunities to return empty containers.

“The NSW Government recognises the challenges associated with efficiently managing empty containers in NSW and undertook an Empty Container Supply Chain Study to look for potential solutions,” Mr Constance said.

“As part of this, we’ve established the Empty Container Working Group, bringing together industry representatives including freight operators, stevedores and empty container park operators to identify industry-led solutions.”

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Rob Stokes, said the NSW Government temporarily amended the State Environmental Planning Policy (Three Ports) 2013 to allow greater flexibility regarding the storage of both full and empty containers.

“The impacts of COVID-19 and recent weather events have led to a decrease in the number of freight vessels visiting Port Botany,” Mr Stokes said.

“To combat this, and keep the supply chain moving, we will increase the permissible height stack where it is safe to do so, which could create storage for an additional 3,000 containers across empty container areas at Port Botany.

“However, safety is the absolute priority and we will be monitoring these changes closely over the next six months.”

The Empty Container Working Group is expected to provide the NSW Government with advice on how to improve management within the next six months while Transport for NSW continues to work with the supply chain to facilitate short term fixes.

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