10 May 2023

Swift by name but not by nature: shipping company slammed

| Matt Nicholls
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WEIPA’S business community has been left high and dry by Cape York’s only marine freight company and are calling for changes in time for the next wet season.

Cape York Weekly went door to door in the Evans Landing industrial area last week to speak to businesses who had been complaining about Sea Swift’s service, or lack thereof.

Businesses such as Mitre 10, Cape Industrial, ENZED and Weipa Cabinets and Building were less than impressed with the shipping company.

The common response was that Sea Swift appears to have just two priority customers – Rio Tinto and Woolworths.

A large number of businesses have had freight left behind – or worse – incorrectly offloaded in the Torres Strait.

Aaron Johnson from Weipa Cabinets and Building said there was a shortage of whiteboard in Australia and that he had finally secured a load, only for it to be left in the rain by Sea Swift at the Cairns port.

“It was destroyed. Thousands of dollars worth of product,” he said.

The shipping company, which enjoys a monopoly in the marine freight industry in the Cape and Torres Strait, still has a major backlog of vehicles waiting to be shipped to Weipa and other communities.

Weipa Town Authority chair Michael Rowland said he rang Sea Swift last week to pass on the business community’s concerns and hoped they would take action.

“They are building a new ship which should help increase capacity and they have assured me that freight that was left behind will be here on Monday (today),” he said.

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