Welcome to the January edition

With the festive season over we now head into the lovely Summer heat!, and of course January is also known for the Australian Open Tennis, endless night markets and of course moonlight Cinema’s.

From a trade perspective, we have noticed that so far this year there has been little to no lull in cargo movements during the recent holiday period. The market for ocean freight imports from South East Asia in particular is operating at similar levels to late 2017; FCL space on vessels is tight, advance bookings are essential and shipping lines are taking advantage of this sellers’ market to maximize yields. We are also seeing some challenges on FCL imports from North Asia, leading up to the Chinese New Year. Our Chinese offices are working hard to secure vessel space, and advance shipment forecasting from our clients greatly assists in this regard.
On the air freight side, space is very tight ex Europe.  We therefore continue to encourage our clients to make bookings as soon as possible so that we can secure space.

As always, there are a number of interesting articles in this month’s newsletter.

We urge all clients in particular to take note (and action where needed) regarding documentation requirements pre and over the Chinese New Year.

Unfortunately there is news of more potential ancillary cost increases, particularly around wharf infrastructure and transport costs.

The Development of the export market is to India is a focus area for the Victorian government, and plan details are noted in an article below.

Please contact our office should you require further information on any of these topics.

Happy reading!

Glenn Allison
Managing Director


More and more we are seeing the trend whereby empty shipping containers are being returned to container terminals, rather than to designated empty container yards. While this may make some productivity gains, with container terminals being open for longer periods than the empty container yards, it also comes with more costs for the more complex process of moving containers into the terminal.
Maersk Line has now announced their plans for such movements. Below is some commentary from a peak industry group, the CBFCA.
For our customers, on the occasions where we are directed to return empty containers to shipping terminals, any additional costs incurred in this more complex process will be on-forwarded to our customers.
The following information on new Maersk “return of import containers to Australian shipping terminals” is brought to member’s attention – click HERE for official statement from Maersk.
This proposed new process option for the de-hire of Maersk empty containers involves direct transfer to the wharf based Patrick and DPW stevedore terminals only.
Thereby potentially cancelling or substantially reducing, the current longstanding and accepted industry practice of allowing empty containers to be de-hired to Maersk’s nominated container park operators in each major Australian port.


This does mean:
• Additional cost impost to members, who in turn would likely need consider passing this onto their importer clients
• The potential removal of options to de-hire empty containers in the major industrial hubs closest to member’s and their client’s facilities, within each capital city
• The congestion that would be added to existing container transport road movements within each capital city port
• The impractical procedure involving the lodgement of a Pre Receival Advice and a Vehicle Booking Slot for each inwards empty container movement
• A potential elimination of current efficient empty container de-hire practices such as “live unloads” at importer premises that involved direct empty container de-hires – a service that enables direct cost savings to the import industry in terms of eliminating the need for return pick up and de-hire of empty containers
• The potential for our members and their importer clients to have inwards empty container movements trapped within the controls of each stevedore Vehicle Booking System process in terms of timing and availability of time slots
• Increased risks to members and their importer clients on incurring container de-hire detention due to the potential loss of available free days from container unpack through to to empty container de-hire due to this proposed process
• The flow on effect of unnecessary additional administration and co-ordination time/cost that our members would incur under such a practiceThe above impacting issues are being discussed with Maersk, and therefore further details will be advised as details come to light.In the meantime, should you have any questions or concerns, please contact our sales department.


As you will remember, back on the 28th November, 2017 The Victorian International Container Terminal, (VICT) announced that all vessel and landslide operations had ceased work from 0600 hours on the 27th November due to unannounced and illegal picket action from members of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA)

The Supreme court had issued orders against the MUA & CFMEU and its representatives, and this was going to trial in the New Year to seek claim on Damages. Its been announced through the media, that unions are being sued for $8.2 Million for this illegal blockade, which resulted in medical supplies and other goods (of lesser importance) being held up on Melbourne’s docks. Each Union (CFMEU & MUA) are each being sued approximately $5.5 Million in damages relating to Transport and Suppliers costs, and will seek a further $2.7 Million over Shipping Line costs for reputational damage and loss of future earnings.
There are claims that the CFMEU & the MUA conspired with each other to cause damage to the Shipping Lines, however this is of course speculation only.
As we re-call, this was all over a Wharf employee (who has since been named and said to have links to bikie links), was refused shifts after being denied the security clearance required to work in a restricted area.
Up to 200 trucks a day were blocked from entering the terminal to collect containers containing not only Christmas ware, but also seafood and more importantly medical supplies such as life-saving EPI Pens were left sitting on the docks over the 19 day picket period.



The Senate has handed down a report into “Protecting Australians from the threat of asbestos“.  The report contains a number of recommendations to the Australian Border Force that are aimed at decreasing illegal imports of asbestos.  The report makes clear that the Government has a zero tolerance attitude towards the importation of asbestos.

Recommendations that could impact of importers and customs brokers include:

  • A review of ABF resourcing required to effectively monitor and prevent the illegal importation of asbestos
  • The ABF consider having a specialist unit to manage illegal asbestos importation
  • The Customs Act be amended to make it easier to obtain convictions against those importing asbestos
  • Consider increasing the threshold required to use “mistake of fact” as a defence
  • The Australian Government prioritise the prosecution of asbestos cases
  • The Government review increasing the penalties for breaches of the law prohibiting asbestos importations
  • It be a requirement that intended imports of high risks goods be subject to accredited testing
  • Consider having a “due diligence” requirement in place for procurers of high risk goods

The report is clear, all importations of asbestos must be detected and stopped.  Regardless of the extent to which the ABF adopts the recommendations in the report, the tone of report supports a strong compliance approach.  Even if it has already been done, Importers must be aware of the risks associated with importing goods that may contain asbestos.  Importers should take a relaxed approach to this issue.

While the last year saw a massive rise in the level of infringement notices for prohibited imports, it needs to be noted that the Senate is asking the Government to prioritise prosecution of importers of asbestos.


The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) is an exotic pest of bio-security concern to Australia’s and New Zealand’s agriculture industry as they feed on and severely damage fruit and crops.

Typically the Peak Season for these bugs is from the 1st September to the 30th April.

These bugs are known to feed heavily on a wide variety of plant species, including grapes, kiwi-fruit, apples, citrus & stone fruit, as well as crops such as corn.  Over winter, these bugs gather in large numbers in homes. They can’t be easily treated with insecticides and they emit a punget odour when squashed, making them hard to remove.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (the department) has found significant numbers of Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs (BMSB) on arrival in Australia in various types of containerised goods arriving from Italy. These detection’s indicate that BMSB are sheltering in a range of containers and goods outside of those captured by existing measures.

To manage the risk posed by these goods, all containerised goods shipped via sea cargo from Italy that arrive in Australia between 17 January 2018 and 30 April 2018 will be required to undergo an approved treatment onshore.

Please review the full details via the following notice from Department of Agriculture and Water Resources: http://agriculture.gov.au/import/industry-advice/2018/04-2018

DP World Blames market as Infrastructure Levies are Increased

DP World Australia have advised that a tough market has forced a rise in Infrastructure Levies in  Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane terminals.

From 1st January 2018, container Infrastructure levies for container transport (Excluding GST) will increase by an extensive 51% on all containers arriving into MELBOURNE, SYDNEY & BRISBANE Ports.

This will also see a increase in the CFS Infrastructure Levi, which will in turn increase accordingly, also from 1st January 2018.

Its been announced that the increase in the costs is primarily due to the fact that Australia faces one of the most difficult markets in decades. arising from over-capacity in the local steverdoring market, larger vessels and the consolidation of shipping lines. In addition there has been a rising occupancy and energy costs imposts of 45% in 2017, property & rent related costs have also significantly increased over the last decade.
DP World also intend to improve their service levels, efficiencies and continue to invest in landside equipment and terminal capacity to handle greater peaks in container volumes.



INDUSTRY body the Victorian Transport Association says it supports a trial on the Monash Freeway in Melbourne’s east aimed at improve productivity for heavy vehicle operators by restricting use of the right-hand lane by trucks.

Starting in February, heavy vehicles travelling in both directions on the Monash are to be restricted from using the far right-hand lane between Huntingdale Road, Mount Waverly and Jacksons Road, Noble Park.

The trial is to run for nine months.

“It is vital that measures to improve productivity are implemented to keep the freeway safe and efficient for all road users,” said VTA chief executive Peter Anderson.

“We supported the dynamic speed trials on the Monash last year for similar reasons that we support this latest trial because any measure that can potentially reduce costs and improve safety for operators is good for business and well worth trying,” he said.

Mr Anderson said the restrictions would lead to a higher concentration of heavy vehicles in the middle lanes of the freeway.

“Car drivers must remember that trucks require considerably greater stopping distances so they must leave a safe distance between themselves and other vehicles, refrain from excessive lane changing, and never cut off a heavy vehicle,” Mr Anderson said.

Port of Melbourne

IN the run-up to the holiday season, Port of Melbourne saw a busy month for containers in November, according to the latest trade statistics available from the port.

  • Total throughput at Port for the month came to 252,509 TEU, which is a 9% increase on throughput in the same month the previous year (231,555 TEU).
  • November 2017’s container throughput was the second-highest for the entire previous year after October 2017 (254,736 TEU).
  • Of November’s total, 196,223 TEU (or 78%) were full containers, with 56,286 TEU of empty containers moving through the port over the month.
  • Imports from overseas made up the lion’s share of the full container trade through the port, with 106,759 TEU, with overseas exports totaling 59,887 TEU in November.
  • Full exports to Tasmania stood at 13,453 TEU, while imports from the Apple Isle to Melbourne totaled 8694 TEU.
  • Looking at non-containerised trade volumes through the port, we see 36,364 motor vehicle units moving through the port, or 577,791 revenue tonnes.
  • Break bulk trade volume for the month was reported to be 64,812 revenue tonnes, liquid bulk volume was 503,340 revenue tonnes and dry bulk volume was 427,540 revenue tonnes.
  • “Other trade volume” was reported to be 273,533 revenue tonnes.



Please be advised that the China Commodity Inspection Bureau has set a new requirement for hazardous cargo to Shanghai.
Effective immediately for any haz cargo to Shanghai in addition to the standard haz label, the cargo must also have a Chinese hazardous label. Shippers can obtain a copy of the label from their consignee by email, and a copy should be attached to all export pallets/packages.
If cargo is shipped without a Chinese haz label, cargo will be detained by CCIB and will incur additional storage charges.


Please be advised in the USA, some states are experiencing a severe weather event. In the states of TEXAS, ATLANTA & GEORGIA have recently been affected by a severe weather pattern and this has now has moved up through the mid-south impacting the states of South & North Carolina and parts of the Northeast. Some Line Carrier branches are advertised as currently being closed in HOUSTON, DALLAS, CHARLOTTE, & ATLANTA, (which are the most affected)
Line Carriers & Transport Companies have announced that in these areas they have no service or very limited service (depending on safety).
This will impact all deliveries and pickups within the regions. Expect transit delays as carriers are suspending service in some areas. You can also expect when the weather does clear that Line Carriers will be backlogged as much as 2-3 days. We’ve seen service delays in the past due to
weather, so please be aware pickups and deliveries will be impacted.


Get Ready for the New CoR Provisions

NEW provisions for Chain of Responsibility coming into effect in July mean anyone who consigns, packs, loads or receives goods as part of their business could be held legally liable for breaches of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) even if they have no direct role in operating a heavy vehicle.

Additionally, companies, directors, partners and managers are accountable for people under their control under the Chain of Responsibility, and from July, penalties for CoR breaches are to be up to $300,000 for an individual and up to $3m for companies, plus possible five-year prison terms.

The aim of these rules is to ensure everyone in the supply chain ensures breaches do not occur – this is where training is important.

Training is an important part of a “reasonable steps defence”. Courses are available to help learners identify what must be managed to avoid CoR-related road-safety breaches.

Content includes:

  • Know what the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) is, its purpose, and your duties under it
  • Understand Chain of Responsibility;
  • Understand HVNL and Chain of Responsibility legislative requirements (including State and Territory regulations), offences and penalties;
  • Recognise the role State and Territory authorities play in the management and enforcement of HVNL laws;
  • Recognise who can be held responsible under Chain of Responsibility;
  • Know the importance of safe load restraint, appropriate load mass and dimension, and prevention of driver fatigue and speeding;
  • Understand specific responsibilities of certain parties in the transport chain.

The course takes about an hour and a half and upon passing the online assessment, learners get a certificate valid for two years, 4.5 CPD points are also in the mix.  If you are interested please contact our sales department whom can give you details as to whom is running these courses.

Vic Government BILLION Dollar India Plan!

DOUBLING the value of exports to India is the goal of the Victorian state government.

Premier Daniel Andrews has just announced a project entitled Victoria’s India Strategy: Our Shared Future ahead of an official visit to the subcontinent.

The Strategy is said to be a blueprint aimed at growing exports to India, as well as attracting more international students and encouraging more tourists,

The Strategy is aimed at creating jobs and growing the Victorian economy by:

  • Doubling the value of goods exports to India from a five-year annual average of $500m to almost $1bn by 2027;
  • Increasing the number of Indian postgraduate research students in Victoria by 25%;
  • Doubling the number of Victorian businesses engaged in India from 150 to 300;
  • Nearly tripling the expenditure by Indian visitors to Victoria to $885 million.

Victoria’s India Strategy is said to be the result of hundreds of hours of consultation with more than 200 partners.

“This blueprint is all about expanding our footprint in one of the world’s leading economies, which will boost Victorian businesses and create jobs for locals. We have a plan and we’re getting it done,” Premier Andrews said.

“Our tourism, international education, sport and cultural and innovation offerings are the envy of the world. We want India to experience for themselves the best of everything Victoria produces.

“We’ve worked closely with leaders and industry experts from the Australian Indian community on ways we can make our state’s bond with India even stronger.”

New Packing Declarations Implementation

Further to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (the department) Import Industry Advice Notice 101-2017 – Implementation of revised Minimum Documentary and Import Declaration Requirements and Non Commodity Information Requirements Policies, we would like to remind you the department has now updated the packing declaration templates.
The department has aligned the Non Commodity Information Requirements policy and the Non Commodity BICON Case with the import conditions for bamboo packaging. Bamboo packaging is now acceptable provided it is treated by an approved method prior to export or on arrival and does not need to be declared as unacceptable packaging.

The department will continue to accept packing declarations that are in the current format for consignments shipped on or before 30 June 2018.
All consignments shipped on or after 1 July 2018, must be accompanied by a packaging declaration that meets the revised requirements.

Updated templates are now available on the Acceptable documentation templates webpage to enable you to advise your clients / suppliers to start using the new templates.

Chinese New Year (CNY), also known as the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival, is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays.

CNY is based on the Chinese calendar and usually begins on a different date each year. It is based on the moon’s orbit around the earth.  The festival traditionally begins on the first day of the first month in the Chinese calendar and ends on the 15th of the month. Each CNY is symbolized and named after one of 12 particular animals (Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig) and consists of a 12 year cycle. 2018 is the year of the Dog.

The holiday for CNY is officially recognized by the government as 7 days, with typical CNY celebrations lasting for 15 days. In 2015, holidays start on 15th February until 23rd February. However many suppliers are closed for a week after these dates.


Manufacturing plants across China typically shut down and tens of millions of workers make long trips back to their home towns from the industrial cities where their jobs are based. It has a huge impact on all global supply chains originating from China and it’s not always back to business as usual, before and after the 15 day celebration. The celebrations are also expected to affect port operations in terms of loading, barging schedules and possibly product availability. It can have a considerable effect on your supply chain during the celebration and should be planned for in advance.
When the New Year approaches, factories kick into high-gear in an attempt to ship as many orders as possible before officially shutting down for the holiday.  Importers and exporters need to make changes to their production and shipping schedules to ensure they have enough goods to get them through the downtime caused by the factory closures. China’s entire transportation system is practically at capacity during this time, and it is common for issues with container and truck availability when shipping goods close for CNY.

Shipments must also be booked at least two weeks in advance because space quickly fills up. We are already seeing vessels booked to capacity, so it is imperative bookings are made as soon as possible to ensure we can accommodate.

Preparing customs declaration documents well in advance of the holiday are crucial advisable steps to take. In particular ensuring ORIGINAL BILLS / TELEX RELEASES are organised, PACKING DECLARATIONS & CERTIFICATE OF ORIGINS/FTA’S are all prepared and handed over for Customs Clearance to avoid delays and additional costs being incurred.

In summary, when planning for peak season, be sure to have a buffer for CNY – Two or three weeks for bookings and then another week for ETA in case of delays.

Australia Day Public Holiday

Just a reminder that Orbit Logistics Office will be closed from 5pm on Thursday 25th January, & will re-open for business as usual on the
Monday 29th January in celebration for the Australia Day Public Holiday on Friday 26th January.

If you have any urgent matters, please email our Sales Department at sales@orbitlogistics.com.au

We wish our clients, their families and friends a safe and happy long weekend!

Orbit Staff Changes

January staff changes to the Orbit family.

In December Michelle Edwards moved into Customer Service, replacing Heath Ayres, and we welcomed on-board Emma Angerosa to the Orbit Team!  Emma has now settled into her role and is a great addition to our close knit team.

On the 19th January we also welcome Erin Dobrautz as she joins our Transport Department.  Erin comes with a wealth of experience as a Transport Co-ordinator in the Forwarding Industry and will therefore be a great asset to our business.

Welcome Erin!