Independent Review – Ports and Maritime Administration Act and Port Botany Landside Improvement Strategy

On 12 November 2021, the NSW Government announced a comprehensive Review of the Ports and Maritime Administration Act 1995 (the Act) and the Port Botany Landside Improvement Strategy (PBLIS). Mr Ed Willett was appointed to lead the Review as the Independent Reviewer, supported by Transport for NSW (TfNSW). 

The Review was conducted using a three phased approach: 

  • Discussion Paper 
  • Options Paper and 
  • Final Report to Government.  

The NSW Government Better Regulation Principles and evidence-based research and analysis, including independent external inputs and comprehensive engagement with stakeholders guided the Review.  

Government response to Final Report

The Final Report has made 37 recommendations relating to the Act and PBLIS. All 16 of the Act recommendations will be adopted and further stakeholder consultation will occur on 20 of the 21 PBLIS recommendations to inform a final decision. 

PBLIS recommendation 18, to engage NSW Ports – the private port operator - as a service provider to administer elements of PBLIS is not supported. The current arrangement where Transport for NSW administers the Regulation is considered most appropriate at this time. 

Final Report  

The Final Report was publicly released on 25 January 2024.

View final report

Final Recommendations and Findings  

The Act Recommendations and Findings 

Improving safety

Act Recommendation 1: Dangerous goods time limit penalty  
Replace the current three tier dangerous goods in ports time-limit penalty structure with an ongoing penalty that applies for each day that dangerous goods remain at port facilities beyond the set time limits.                                                   

Act Recommendation 2: Mooring licences 
Remove the reference to identification numbers issued under the Commonwealth Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law Act 2012 (Cth) as a condition of holding a mooring licence in NSW.                                         

Act Recommendation 3: Towage, lines handling and bunkering services 
Introduce a statutory licensing regime administered by Port Authority to: 

  • Replace the current towage licence system, administered by Port Authority under its harbour master powers and Port Safety Operating Licence 
  • Apply licensing requirements for the provision of lines handling services, using a similar approach to towage licensing 
  • Apply licensing requirements for the provision of some bunkering services, including information requirements and minimum safety standards.

Act Recommendation 4: Permit requirements for bunkering and other works 
Update permit requirements to:  

  • Extend the current requirement for vessels carrying dangerous goods to obtain written approval for carrying out bunkering or specified work to other commercial vessels that do not carry dangerous goods but where pilotage is required or where the master is required to hold a certificate of local knowledge 
  • Remove cleaning or painting the ship’s hull, polishing or cleaning the ship’s propellor, and running a radar if the ship is a tanker from the list of specified works that require written approval.                                             

Act Recommendation 5: Enforcement of private port operator directions 
Make changes to private port operator directions to introduce a criminal offence and penalty infringement notice (PIN) for persons who breach private port operator directions at Port Botany, Port Kembla, and Port of Newcastle, relating to: the driving, stopping, and parking of vehicles; the movement, handling or storage of goods; or any activity that may pose a risk to safety and security at the port.

Act Recommendation 6: Notice of private port operator directions 
Amend the port operator direction notification period from at least two weeks to at least one week to allow for more timely responses to general (non-emergency) safety or security issues. 

Act Recommendation 7: Traffic control at ports and wharves 
Extend liability for non-compliance with parking rules in all ports and on TfNSW or Port Authority land near a port or wharf to the owner of the vehicle.

Information and environmental sustainability

Act Recommendation 8: Vessel environmental performance information 
Require trading ships to provide relevant port authorities with vessel performance information such as fuel types, exhaust gas cleaning systems, noise emission levels and noise mitigation measures where relevant, and for vessels carrying bulk liquids to also provide information such as pump and outlet capacities.                              

Act Recommendation 9: Port price monitoring scheme reporting requirements 
Change the port operator charges notification period to provide 40 business days’ notification to the Minister before implementation, and within that period 20 business days’ notification to industry before implementation.                              

Act Recommendation 10: Vessel manifest information and data formats 
Strengthen vessel manifest information requirements and information sharing mechanisms to support quality information provision and efficient data sharing.  

Vessel manifests 

  • The following information should be provided by a vessel owner in a manifest for goods loaded or discharged from a vessel to the relevant port operator: 
    • The Harmonized System (HS) classification based on internationally agreed descriptors for imports and exports.  
    •  For containerised imports, the inland point of destination or origin for the container within Australia. 
  • A criminal offence should be created in the Regulation for failure to provide required information in a manifest within required timeframes.  

Effective information sharing  

  • Delivery orders for cargoes and vessel manifests should be provided by the owner of the vessel to relevant parties, including port operators and empty container parks, in an appropriate electronic format, unless agreed otherwise. 
  • Information provided in vessel manifests and delivery orders should also be made available by relevant parties to the NSW Government.

Modernising and streamlining

Act Recommendation 11: Port boundaries 
TfNSW should review the application of current port boundaries and update the boundaries if required. 

Act Recommendation 12: Transport for NSW functions 
Clarify functions of TfNSW to reflect changes in responsibilities for managing waterways infrastructure and the provision of maritime services across NSW and improve clarity of the role of TfNSW. Additional functions should capture TfNSW’s role in keeping Sydney Harbour free of debris, the maintenance of additional waterways infrastructure (such as river entrance management infrastructure and vessel maintenance facilities), and other maritime functions TfNSW undertakes. 

Act Recommendation 13: Maritime Advisory Council functions 
Expand the functions of the Maritime Advisory Council (MAC) to include advice and recommendations on maritime property, in addition to the current MAC functions of providing advice on maritime safety, infrastructure and research, in relation to domestic commercial vessels and recreational vessels.

Act Recommendation 14: Port Authority objectives 
Allow Port Authority to engage in activities that are complementary to its principal objectives, with the Minister’s approval.                                  

Act Recommendation 15: Application of the navigation service charge 
Remove the navigation service charge exemptions applied in Port Botany and Sydney Harbour in the Regulation so that vessels that enter ports are subject to the navigation service charge for each entry.

Act Recommendation 16: Updates to the Act and Regulation 
Outline the objectives of the Act and make other amendments to remove outdated references and requirements and simplify the Act.

Act Findings

Act Finding 1: Differential port charges for environmental performance  
Differential charges can provide a strong signal to port users to support improvements to environmental outcomes.                          

Act Finding 2: Consideration of Port Authority commercial and regulatory functions  
Government could consider Port Authority structure, which includes both commercial and regulatory functions, to determine whether it is appropriate.                     
 
Act Finding 3: Consider pilotage provision  
The future of pilotage services in NSW should be included in any review of Port Authority functions or structure.                                                         

Act Finding 4: National collection of stevedore and ship performance data  
Data collection on stevedore quayside and ship performance and related benchmarking should be undertaken at the national level by the Australian Government.                              
 
Act Finding 5: Independent price regulation of port charges is not suitable 
Changes to the NSW Government port charges price monitoring scheme approach are not required. 

                                        
PBLIS Recommendations and Findings 

Port Road Interface 

PBLIS Recommendation 1: PBLIS Performance Scheme  
Introduce (via a managed transition process) a regulated performance-based incentive scheme for the stevedore and road interface that rewards efficient performance of stevedores and road operators, and provides flexibility to support innovation in landside operations. Monitoring will provide transparency of ongoing landside performance. Government should retain the potential to re-introduce the current, prescriptive PBLIS rules if port performance deteriorates.                                 
 
PBLIS Recommendation 2: Change carrier cancellation rules to take or pay  
Change the slot booking notice period and cancellation rules for carriers to a take or pay arrangement.

PBLIS Recommendation 3: Facilitate no booking until discharge  
Enable stevedores to voluntarily implement a no booking until discharge system that allows container pick up booking once the import container has been discharged from the vessel.  

PBLIS Recommendation 4: Staggered time zone commencement 
Facilitate the optional commencement of truck servicing time zones every half hour instead of every hour.                                             

PBLIS Recommendation 5: Differential pricing of time zones  
Stevedores should consider applying different prices to truck time zones to encourage 24/7 landside port access.                                         

PBLIS Recommendation 6: Remove the broad power for regulating stevedore charges
Remove the broad Regulation power for regulating stevedore charges, and remove associated PBLIS stevedore charge notification and government assessment requirements.     
 
PBLIS Recommendation 7: Apply late penalties per truck trip rather than per container 
Apply PBLIS late arrival penalties per truck trip rather than per container.                 
 
PBLIS Recommendation 8: Apply unforeseen events to terminal sections  
Increase flexibility in stevedore unforeseen event application to allow partial closure of a stevedore terminal for an impacted time zone,  instead of the whole terminal during that time zone.                     
 
PBLIS Recommendation 9: Update penalty rates by Consumer Price Index (CPI)  
Backdate PBLIS penalty rates by CPI from 2010 and apply ongoing annual CPI increases.  
 
PBLIS Recommendation 10: Remove large and small carrier classifications 
Remove the option for stevedores to separate carriers into Large Carriers (Class B carriers) and Small Carriers (Class A carriers) for the purpose of releasing slots. 

PBLIS Recommendation 11: Remove TfNSW approval for stevedore import and export slot allocation 
Remove the requirement for TfNSW to approve the stevedore import and export slot allocation.

Data Transparency

PBLIS Recommendation 12: Road data transparency 
Increase the information publicly available on stevedore truck servicing and carrier performance, and improve data provided to government.                     
 
PBLIS Recommendation 13: Rail data transparency 
Provide detailed information on stevedore rail window and rail operator performance to industry, make data publicly available, and encourage visible container tracking.             
 
PBLIS Recommendation 14: Empty container data transparency and efficiency 
Require empty container storage facility data and make suitable data publicly available, and require empty container redirections be provided in an appropriate electronic format.         
 
PBLIS Recommendation 15: Freight Community System (FCS) 
Progress development of a FCS Strategic Business Case and, if positive, develop a phased implementation plan to proceed as a high priority.

Port Access

PBLIS Recommendation 16: Second truck marshalling area 
Investigate the need and timing for a second truck marshalling area (TMA) and, if required, consider options for its development.                                 

PBLIS Recommendation 17: Certified transport operator access 
Introduce a certification requirement for container transport road operators at Port Botany.     
 
PBLIS Recommendation 18: Engage NSW Ports as a service provider to administer elements of PBLIS, truck marshalling area and TfNSW camera network 
Engage NSW Ports to administer PBLIS, and manage the TMA and the TfNSW ANPR camera networks as a service provider to TfNSW with the NSW Government (TfNSW) retaining responsibility for and control of the Act, Regulation and Mandatory Standards.                                                     

Port Rail 

PBLIS Recommendation 19: Remove regulated rail servicing arrangements 
Remove the regulation of stevedore rail servicing arrangements to allow stevedores to set charges and service terms as appropriate.                                 

PBLIS Recommendation 20: Improve governance frameworks to align public infrastructure managers with the port rail task 
Ensure public rail infrastructure managers (Sydney Trains and ARTC) requirements are appropriately aligned with the port rail task.                             

PBLIS Recommendation 21: Examine future rail options  
As rail investments mature, consider further options for improving the interface and/or coordination between supply chain participants and functions. 

PBLIS Findings

PBLIS Finding 1: Investigate options for stevedore impacted trucks – PBLIS Option A2 
Not recommended                                                             
 
PBLIS Finding 2: Points system – PBLIS Option B10 
Not recommended                                 
 
PBLIS Finding 3: Oversight of access arrangements – PBLIS Option C18 
Not recommended

Historical Review Documents 

Supporting analysis   

Castalia conducted a Cost Benefit Analysis of the performance of PBLIS since its introduction. Released on 21 February 2022.
View the full report (PDF, 5.46 MB) | View the summary report (PDF, 3.84 MB).

Advisian completed a study of international and national approaches to the management of port landside interfaces, including in Australia and New Zealand, Europe, North America and Asia. Released on 25 May 2022.
View the full report (PDF, 8.46 MB) | View the summary report (PDF, 1.1 MB).

Deloitte Access Economics completed a study of the impacts of PBLIS on parties in the port supply chain including stevedores, truck operators and rail operators. Released on 25 May 2022.
View the full report (PDF, 2.22 MB) | View the summary report (PDF, 1.02 MB).

Options Paper 

The Review Options Paper was released on 16 June 2022. The Options Paper outlines a series of options to be considered for the Act and PBLIS. View the Options Paper (PDF, 19.01 MB).

Consultation with stakeholders on the Options Paper was carried out in June and July 2022. Twenty-one written submissions were received and verbal feedback was recorded.

Discussion Paper 

The Review Discussion Paper was released on 15 December 2021. The Discussion Paper provides an overview of the Act and its key functions and outlines port landside performance under PBLIS. View Discussion Paper (PDF, 8.58 MB)

Further information on the Port Botany supply chain, history of PBLIS and relevant stakeholder engagement and industry actions are outlined in a supplementary paper. View Supplementary Paper (PDF, 277.77 KB)

Consultation with stakeholders on the Discussion Paper was carried out in February and March of 2022. Twenty-six written submissions were received and verbal feedback was recorded.  

Terms of Reference

The Independent Review responded to the Terms of Reference 

View Terms of Reference

About the Independent Reviewer

Mr Ed Willett was appointed as the Independent Reviewer. Mr Willett has more than 30 years’ experience in competition policy and economic regulation.

Meet the reviewer

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