Consignment houses across Australia have been hit by the arrival of new consignor-shipments, with a glut of consignors at some of the country’s most important sites.
Key points:Consignors have been arriving at a “tipping point” as they begin to limit their inventoryThe Australian Government has said the shortage is being “overlooked” by consignersThe number of consigned items is expected to exceed that of the year beforeConsignor shortages are causing delays for consignees, businesses and touristsConsigners are expected to start arriving at consignment houses on the weekendThe shortage of consignment ships has been an ongoing problem in Australia, with some consignment houses having a shortage of around 50 ships a week.
Consigning items at these consignes has become increasingly popular as they can be picked up by overseas ships and ship owners, while some people have been taking the plunge to take advantage of the increased value offered.
This week, the Australian Government said the “ticking point” was being “overshadowed” with a “very limited supply of ships”.
This was a significant blow to some consignment house operators, with one, Rydalmere Wharf, reporting that it had only two ships available, meaning it had to wait until Sunday to pick up its next consignment.
Rydalremere Wharf said the consigns would be shipped on Saturday, leaving it without any other ships to ship its items.
“We’re trying to have two ships at the moment and we have to have a couple more before we can get them,” the Rydallie Wharf owner said.
“There’s no time for us to be on the waitlist.”
The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBP) is also facing a shortage.
“The consigner shortage has been a problem for many years, but the volume has been increasing over the past two weeks,” ACBP commissioner Mark Lakin said.
The department said the increased volume was due to increased demand for consignment services, which are increasingly expensive.
“These consigning ships are being used to fill consignee and overseas ship quotas,” ACBPS commissioner Michelle King said.
This year, the total number of vessels consigned is expected reach more than 1,000.
The Government’s announcement comes after the Government said that the number of ships consigned by consignment companies is “exceeding” the “unprecedented” 1,500-ship peak in 2016.ABC Fact Check looked into the claims and found that while the number has increased, the number ships consigned is not actually reaching that peak.
The peak figure for consigned ships was in 2016 when there were about 5,200 ships, but that was still a significant increase from the year prior.
Consignment companies are not expected to reach the 1,400-ship mark for the first time until 2020, when the new consignment regulations come into effect.
Australia’s trade minister, Steve Ciobo, said that this was not a “staggering” increase in the consignment industry, and that there were plenty of other industries to be competing with.
“Consignment is a very good industry, particularly in regional Australia where we have an abundance of ships and we do have some of those ships in the Pacific,” he said.ABC’s Fact Check asked the Government about the claim that the new regulations were putting the “durable” and “economical” ship-building industry out of business.
What the data shows:Australia’s Consignment Bureau has told Fact Check that the total of ships in consignment has grown by more than 5 per cent this year compared to the previous year.
But the Bureau’s figures do not account for the rise in the number or types of ships that have been consigned, or the change in the supply chain.
For example, the Government’s Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has said that a small number of boats are consigned every week in Australia.
But a spokeswoman for the BOM said that in 2016 there were just four ships in total in consign.
“At the same time, we’ve seen a small amount of ships going out of commission,” she said.