Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Australian retailers seek urgent resolution of DP World dispute

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is once again calling for urgent resolution in the dispute between DP World and the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) that is bringing Australia’s ports to a standstill.

ARA CEO Paul Zahra says it has now become critical that both parties bring the dispute to a head as a matter of urgency, so as to minimise any further adverse impacts for importers, retailers and consumers.

“Australian retailers need unimpeded access to the global supply chain to operate and this industrial action is starting to have an unacceptable impact on the flow of goods from overseas suppliers into our sector,” Mr Zahra said.

“All categories are affected but we are particularly concerned about perishable food, fresh produce, pharmaceuticals and other essential goods including back-to school merchandise.

“That’s why we need DP World and MUA to resolve their differences in the interests of the Australian economy and consumers.

The long-running industrial action impacting DP World has resulted in a 2-8 week backlog in shipments and 48,000 shipping containers standing idle nationwide. Retailers have reported delays and significant out-of-stocks and remain concerned around the potential impact on pricing further adding to the cost-of-living crunch.

“Up until now, retailers have managed to minimise the impact of this industrial action on consumers,” Mr Zahra added.

“However, we are increasingly concerned that the inconvenience of out-of-stocks and delays in fulfilling customer orders could soon escalate into higher prices on everyday essentials if the situation is not resolved soon.

“While we are encouraged that Minister Tony Burke is meeting with both parties, we see this intervention as just the first step to get the shipments moving again and keep them moving.

“Through the pandemic, Australian retailers demonstrated tremendous agility and ingenuity in response to supply chain disruptions.

“However, the underlying pressure on the supply chain is ever present and with geo-political wars this will only intensify in coming months due to external forces entirely out of our control as a country.

“That’s why we are urging the parties to get back to the negotiating table and resolve their differences in good faith quickly, to stop a bad situation from getting worse,” Mr Zahra.

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