At Patrick Terminal in Melbourne, an employee tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday (1/10). The contract tracing process has identified 22 close contacts and 31 casual contacts. The close contacts will need to isolate for 14 days regardless of test results. In total, this represents approximately 20% of the workforce and will have a significant impact on Melbourne operations.
Michael Jovicic, CEO Patrick Terminals, said: “On Friday, we were notified of a positive case of COVID-19 at our Melbourne Terminal and this has resulted in approximately 20% of our entire Melbourne workforce being forced into isolation. Coupled with the industrial action that launches today by the MUA, our Melbourne terminal is now forecasting significant delays for both import and export cargo.”
Following the contract tracing process, Patrick Terminals sent a formal request to the MUA seeking for them to withdraw the industrial action at the Melbourne terminal, given that both other container terminal operators in Melbourne are also dealing with positive cases in their terminals and as a result, there is limited ability for Patrick to subcontract any cargo.
“We sent a request to the MUA on Saturday seeking for them to withdraw their industrial action this week, given the extenuating circumstances that all terminal operators are experiencing in Melbourne With a 20% reduced workforce at Patrick and rolling strikes throughout the month, delays may increase by several weeks by the end of October. Unfortunately, the strike has proceeded despite this request to the MUA to call off their industrial action, even after the terminal was crippled by this COVID outbreak.” said Jovicic.
Wednesday 6th October Update:
An additional employee has tested positive for COVID-19 at Patrick’s Melbourne terminal. This new case is not linked to the previously advised COVID-19 case. Operations are continuing and the truck interchange is unaffected.
The impacted employee’s last rostered shifts were afternoon shifts on the 30th September and 1st October. The contract tracing process has identified 87 close contacts and 8 casual contacts. The close contacts will need to isolate for 14 days regardless of test results.
In total, currently, 109 employees in our workforce are unavailable to be allocated to work and must serve a 14-day isolation period. This includes 22 close contacts from the first identified COVID case. All 31 casual contacts identified from the first case have since received negative results and have been cleared to return to work today.
Delays at the Patrick Melbourne terminal are expected to increase exponentially as a result of these positive COVID cases. Both Sydney and Fremantle terminals are experiencing delays due to the ongoing MUA industrial action.
Michael Jovicic, CEO Patrick Terminals, said: “Currently 32% of our Melbourne workforce are unavailable to attend work and will need to isolate for a 14-day period. This situation is now critical and we once again urge the MUA to withdraw their industrial action to allow our operations to recover in these debilitating circumstances. This is not a time to be holding our Melbourne terminal to ransom when so many importers and exporters are relying on our services for the movement of their cargo.”
Tuesday 12th October Update:
A third team member of Patrick’s Melbourne Terminal has tested positive for COVID. Contact tracing is underway with the assistance of DHHS and close and casual contacts have been notified.
Once again, this positive COVID case and the increasing number of employees required to isolate for the 14-day period will impact the operational capability at the Melbourne Terminal.
The terminal continues to operate with reduced crews.
Industrial action notices and updates on terminal operations can be found here.