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Customs Minister holds crisis tallks

Customs Minister holds crisis tallks

Federal Customs Minister Chris Ellison will meet freight industry representatives today in a bid to avert massive bottlenecks at Australia's ports.

Major ports are facing gridlock within days because of problems with Customs' new Integrated Cargo System.

Speaking on ABC Radio, Senator Ellison said there are 3100 containers available for collection.

"I spoke to P&O direct this morning and they say they have 2000 containers ready for collection," he said.

Senator Ellison said he would hold a roundtable meeting today to try to expedite the movement of containers from the ports.

"Customs will be there, but I've said that I want to hear direct from industry where the problems are and how we can fix them," he said.

"It is essential that we get this new system working and I'm intent on doing that."

A spokesman for the NSW Road Transport Association, Hugh McMaster, said members are suffering as a result of problems with the new computer system which went live on October 12.

"While the containers are sitting there, they are incurring increasingly high storage charges by the stevedores and ... the containers that our members' clients want are sitting on the wharves for far too long," the spokesman said.

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