Hutch scales back Australian services
Hutchison Ports Australia is to reduce its active bidding for services and reduce the size of offerings to customers, as it repositions after a difficult start-up period in Australia. A memo to business unit managers also announced that there will be employee lay-offs.
The memo said the decision had been difficult and added that the company hoped it would “be able to remain active in the Australian market but at a lower cost base to our current situation”. Hutchison’s repositioning is seen as a result of expanding in the Australian market with a high cost base, due to generous labour agreements. Hutchison invested hundreds of millions of dollars setting up in Brisbane and Sydney but was unable to secure the rights to operate the third terminal at the port of Melbourne.
Shipping Australia chief executive Rod Nairn lamented Hutchison’s pull-back, but said it was “not a surprise” given that Hutchison did not “get the volumes” of cargo and that being unsuccessful in its bid for Melbourne “was probably a factor”.
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