FTA and APSA announce new container detention calculator

Following feedback from members about the difficulty in accessing and maintaining up-to-date data on shipping line import/export detention rates, the Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA) and the Australian Peak Shippers Association (APSA) have launched an online detention calculator.
A detention fee is applicable when shipping line customers hold containers for longer than the pre-arranged period of free time.
Developed in collaboration with mizzenit.com, the calculator allows members to calculate and compare detention costs from 18 lines.
It can be found on the FTA’s website.

Kalmar acquires Australian port service business

Materials handling equipment manufacturer Kalmar, part of Cargotec, has signed an agreement to acquire the port services business of Inver Engineering in Australia.
The investment reportedly supports Kalmar’s strategic aim to grow in services while strengthening and broadening the company’s existing service capabilities throughout Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific.
The acquisition closed on 29 December, 2017.
Inver Engineering, a privately owned company established in Melbourne in 1981, services ports, and the rail, petrochemical, oil and gas and manufacturing industries, while Inver Port Services, part of Inver Engineering, provides repairs, maintenance and crane refurbishment projects for terminal operators across Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific.
“We are excited to welcome the Inver Port Services team to Kalmar Australia,” said Peter McLean, Senior Vice President, Kalmar Asia-Pacific. “The region is a strategically important market for Kalmar and this acquisition further strengthens our capabilities to serve our customers in ports and terminals across the region.”

Fremantle Port rail subsidy increased

Western Australia’s McGowan Government has implemented financial incentives to reduce truck congestion and get more freight on rail to Fremantle Port.
As committed prior to the last election, the container rail subsidy increased from $30 to $50 per Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) from 1 January 2018.
The plan aims to reduce truck traffic on roads around Fremantle Port by encouraging more freight on rail.
The Western Australian Government’s integrated plan for freight and trade includes a target to boost rail mode share to 20 per cent – an increase of approximately five per cent.
The subsidy will be paid for all loaded containers that move between North Quay Rail Terminal (NQRT), Forrestfield and Kwinana, as well as for containers filled with hay received by rail at NQRT for export.
“Increasing the rail share for container haulage is one of several initiatives to improve efficiencies at the Inner Harbour to facilitate trade growth until additional port facilities are viable,” the Government said in a statement, adding that others include supporting the development of the Westport: Port and Environs Strategy; development of the broader rail supply chain, including intermodal facilities; and upgrading road infrastructure linkages around the inner harbour.
“The rail service plays a significant role in achieving greater efficiency in the container supply chain as well as improving community amenity and environmental benefits along metropolitan roads that link to Fremantle Port,” said Western Australian Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.
“That is why the McGowan Government has delivered on its election commitment to increase the container rail subsidy to encourage more container movements on the port rail service.”

Discussion paper released for Perth Outer Harbour strategy

The Westport Taskforce today released Westport: Preparing for the Strategy – the Western Australian Government’s first discussion paper towards delivering its Outer Harbour vision.
In releasing its first discussion paper, the taskforce is inviting stakeholders to join the conversation on key factors that need to be investigated in the development of the Westport Strategy.
Feedback on the discussion paper will be accepted until 5.00pm on 31 January, 2018 and can be submitted online.
A consultation summary will be made available at the end of February 2018. It will summarise the comments received and outline the updated Westport methodology.
“We are making sure we have the right people and structures in place to deliver a real and committed plan to help secure the freight future of this,” said Rita Saffioti, Transport Minister.
“Many people are interested in the planning and development of the new port, and we are interested in hearing their views.
“The Westport Taskforce will consider a range of aspects in preparing its strategy, including the environmental, economic and social impacts of developing a new port.

Port of Melbourne industrial action "sovereign risk": VTA

The Port of Melbourne risks becoming an “international laughing stock” if industrial action that has disrupted stevedore Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT) is permitted to continue, according to the Victorian Transport Association (VTA).
The VTA’s warning is in response to VICT’s revelation that the person the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) is pressuring the stevedore to employ is ineligible to work on docks under Australian law because he failed to obtain a Maritime Security Identification Card.
“It is an affront to every Port of Melbourne stevedore and freight operator working in and around the port that the Victorian economy is continuing to be held to ransom by the MUA over what we now understand is a legal reason for this individual being ineligible for employment at the docks,” said VTA CEO, Peter Anderson.
“The effects of this ongoing action at our busiest time of the year are being felt right throughout the economy when you consider that the more than 1000 containers and their contents sitting idle at Webb Dock cannot be brought to market and sold to consumers during our peak retail trading period.
“Not only are VICT and the hundreds of freight operators that cannot move containers in and out of the terminal being impacted by this recalcitrant industrial action, so too are hundreds of small business operators and their families that are being denied access to goods demanded by Victorian consumers.”
Anderson said it was a potential sovereign risk to the broader Victorian economy and the Port of Melbourne’s position as the nation’s largest port if the action is allowed to continue.
“VICT is already losing business to other Port of Melbourne stevedores through this action, but if foreign exporters determine Melbourne is an unreliable destination for freight forwarders they will send their business to ports in other states, at a massive cost to our economy,” said Anderson.
“So, while this action may be confined to VICT for now, the real risk as we see it is the long-term reputational and economic damage the action will create for Victoria as a place to do business.”
Anderson implored all stakeholders involved in the action to put the interests of the Victorian economy first and work constructively to bring an end to industrial action that is undermining the state’s hard-fought reputation as a reliable place to do business.
“This is not the time for our leaders to run and hide but rather confront the real issue of adverse union action that is brutal and selfish, and has a negative effect on the livelihoods all Victorians,” he said.

Australian Maritime College launches new logistics degrees

Tasmania-based Australian Maritime College will offer two new degrees from 2018 – the Bachelor of Global Logistics and Maritime Management (Honours) and the Master of Logistics Management (Advanced).
According to Dr Peggy Chen, Interim Head – Department of Maritime and Logistics Management, logistics is the key to international trade and the new degrees will help support the developing needs of the important sector.
“We are very excited to see these two degrees offered to keep our advantage in providing a unique undergraduate degree with two cores – global logistics and maritime management, and to provide specialised logistics management at master level,” said Dr Chen.
The Bachelor of Global Logistics and Maritime Management (Honours) is a four-year program designed to prepare students for management careers in the maritime and logistics industry.
The course combines core business principles, such as accounting and finance, business law, international business management, and strategic management, with industry-specific learning, such as port and terminal management, ship operations management, maritime economics, logistics management and supply chain management.
The Master of Logistics Management (Advanced) is a two-year program designed for people seeking professional careers in the global domain of logistics management, logistics strategies and supply-chain management.
The program provides theoretical, practical and applied knowledge suitable for both higher-level professional and managerial roles.
Dr Chen said the decision to offer the new courses now is deliberate, reflecting industry needs and capitalising on the demand for specialists.
“AMC was among the first to observe that traditional shipping companies suddenly transformed into more of logistics service providers, because this was where the demand was and continues to be. The maritime and logistics industries underpin international business and world trade,” she said.
The Bachelor of Global Logistics and Maritime Management (Honours) replaces the Bachelor of Business (Maritime and Logistics Management), which Dr Chen said has reflected industry needs for more than a decade.
In the development of the Master of Logistics Management (Advanced), AMC seeks to respond to the expected increased demand for specialists in areas such as logistics management, supply chain management, warehousing and procurement.
It follows three market surveys conducted in 2016 which focused on the potential for growth in student enrolments in the postgraduate space, for prospective student cohorts from either Australia or overseas, including countries such as India, China and South-East Asia.
“Further provision of education in logistics management through these new courses will build AMC’s reputation in providing specialised workforces and experts in facilitating or managing Australia and international supply chains, in particular in the maritime supply chain,” said Dr Chen.

Road carriers should pass on stevedore fee hikes: VTA

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has issued advice to its members on dealing with the fee hikes introduced in recent months by Australia’s major stevedores.
“These increased charges have been introduced with the carrier not being able to negotiate and there is obliged to pass them on directly to the customer,” VTA CEO Peter Anderson said in the message.
The VTA recommended informing customers how the additional charge will be invoiced and forwarding any formal correspondence from stevedores to further explain the fee.
“Given that both direct and indirect terminal access costs are increasing and significantly different across the three terminals, it is important that the carrier industry is able to accurately quantify and incorporate these costs into their charges,” Anderson added.
Predicting further fee hikes in the future, Anderson announced that the VTA will establish a terminal access cost model for wharf-based operations– for release in early 2018, and will make recommendations to assist the container industry in better communicating with customers “in an effort to recompense many cost increases out of the carriers’ control.”

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WWL and Prixcar in deal for land-based business in Australia

Shipping company Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics ASA (WWL) will sell its inland transportation and technical service business in Australia to Australian vehicle storage and transportation company Prixcar, in exchange for a 20 per cent ownership share in Prixcar.
WWL will remain an active participant in the market through board representation and close cooperation with Prixcar.
Prixcar provides finished vehicle logistic services in Australia with a nationwide footprint. Its primary focus is inland transportation and technical services for the auto segment, complementing WWL’s focus on the heavy truck, rolling equipment and machinery segment. The joint business is expected to have an annual turnover in excess of $250 million and a team of over 1,000.
“This transaction and our new partnership with the Prixcar Group will increase the scale and geographic reach of our Landbased activities in Australia, providing our customers with an enhanced product,” said Craig Jasienski, President and CEO, WWL ASA.
Alan Miles, Chairman, Prixcar Services, added, “The joining of these two companies – both sharing similar values with a strong focus on safety, people, innovation, environment, and our customers – will assist in enabling the group to further expand its ability in creating value for its employees, customers and business partners, offering an expanded range of both services and locations.”
The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals in Australia, and expected to close in Q1 2018.
The transaction does not include WWL’s Terminal business, for example the Melbourne International Ro-Ro Automotive Terminal (MIRRAT).

We can't delay the hard decisions

This article first appeared in the August/September issue of Logistics & Materials Handling.
By Michael Kilgariff, Managing Director, Australian Logistics Council.
In the lead-up to the 2016 Federal Election, the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) urged the development of a comprehensive National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy to address these challenges.
The Federal Government subsequently agreed to undertake the development of such a strategy during the Prime Minister’s Annual Infrastructure Statement to the Parliament in November 2016.
Throughout the months of 2017, the ALC has been working closely with its members, supply-chain participants and other interested parties to catalogue the unique challenges faced by the transport and logistics sector, and to craft recommendations for appropriate policy responses from the Government.
The ALC believes the development of a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy presents an ideal opportunity to establish a high-level framework that will facilitate the safe and efficient operation of Australia’s supply chains, which will:

  • provide an integrated and efficient freight transport and supply chain network for Australia’s international and domestic supply chains;
  • to the fullest extent possible, ensure that policy settings and regulation are competitively neutral between the different freight transport modes;
  • allow freight operators to innovate and increase the productivity of the freight logistics services they provide, in order to improve outcomes for consumers, Australia’s industries and the wider economy; and
  • contribute to continuous improvement in the safety of all freight logistics operations, as well as improved societal and environmental outcomes.

In early August, the ALC released Freight Doesn’t Vote – its final submission to the Inquiry Into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities. This comprehensive document sets out a pathway that will equip the nation’s supply chains to deal with the economic needs of the future.
The reality is that Australia’s economy is being transformed by population growth, by technological change and by the changing behaviour of ever-more-discerning and empowered consumers. Like all other industries, the freight logistics sector must adapt to an economy in transformation.
Moreover, given the exponential growth of the middle class throughout Asia, and thus the importance of exports to Australia’s continuing economic performance, becoming a world leader in supply-chain efficiency and safety is not merely desirable, but essential.
The lived experience of Australian society over recent decades points to increasing levels of urbanisation. Effectively, this means we are trying to do more in a limited physical space.
In particular, resurgence in the desirability of inner-city living coupled with rapid rates of population growth present some urgent challenges for our freight logistics industry.
The essential items that most Australians take for granted in everyday life – food to eat, household appliances, clothing, medications and vehicles to name just a handful – are generally not grown or manufactured close to the places where most of us live.
These commodities must be transported from their point of origin to the retailers from which we purchase them, or otherwise delivered directly to our doorsteps from ports, freight depots or warehouses.
Yet, as we create more populous cities, it is fast becoming apparent that our existing planning regimes and approaches to development fail to adequately prioritise the movement of freight.
The congested state of many major freeways and key arterial roads – as well as traffic gridlock within cities themselves – is a constant source of annoyance for many Australians. However, more than simply being an irritation, these problems are symptomatic of a far deeper issue.
Capacity constraints in the road network are not only a problem for motorists – they also impose significant costs on the freight logistics industry.
The disruption to the supply chain that occurs because of road congestion as well as capacity issues afflicting ports, airports and rail freight facilities all have an impact on the cost of moving freight – and ultimately, the prices paid for goods by Australian consumers.
Australia’s supply chains do not stop at state borders. Our economy is national – and accordingly a nationally consistent approach to infrastructure and the regulation of freight movement is required.
In an ideal world, a national economy should be managed by the national government. This includes the responsibility for the development of the infrastructure and regulatory settings necessary for the nation’s supply chains to operate safely and efficiently.
In many circumstances, the Australian Government has encouraged the development of individual pieces of infrastructure through financing. However, many of the decisions relating to the planning and delivery of such projects are made by state and/or local governments.
This is the reality of Australia’s federal structure. Like all other industries, the freight logistics sector must work within the restraints imposed upon it by the Australian Constitution.
The unfortunate by-product of this constitutional reality can often be duplication and delay in achieving the sort of policy reform that industry – and the entire economy – badly needs.
Freight Doesn’t Vote makes a total of 41 specific policy recommendations, dealing with challenges faced by all modes of freight transport, as well as the inefficiencies that are acting to curb growth, and regulations that fail to adequately account for a changing economic environment.
Unless freight movement is given far greater consideration when planning decisions are made, business and consumer expectations about rapid and efficient delivery of goods will be difficult to meet in the future.
This is particularly true of CBD freight delivery, where competition for road space between passenger and commercial vehicles is already adding to business costs and consumer prices.
Continuing investment in infrastructure that permits deliveries from freight distribution centres to CBDs is critical if we are going to successfully meet our increasing freight task.
Some form of freight-only infrastructure should be considered by governments to improve freight delivery and decrease congestion and emissions in high-demand environments.
This may include the establishment of urban consolidation centres for freight delivery, as well as the adoption of ‘reverse curfews’, which would provide freight vehicles with the right of access to parts of the road at non-peak times, in order to improve efficiency of deliveries.
In its submission, the ALC contends that this is one area where the Federal Government can play a leadership role, by incentivising the incorporation of such measures in urban planning systems, and commissioning a formal review of practices such as curfews that inhibit efficient CBD freight delivery.
Freight Doesn’t Vote also urges the Federal Government to prioritise greater use of technology enhance the efficiency and safety of our freight networks.
This includes assisting small and medium providers with the adoption of global data standards to enhance supply-chain visibility, and moving towards the mandatory use of telematics in heavy vehicles as a means of improving driver safety and establishing a fairer, more effective model for road pricing.
Blunt instruments such as fuel excise charges and registration fees are no longer raising sufficient revenue to support the road network of a 21st-century economy.
As such, it is imperative that we move to a fairer, more efficient road pricing and investment model, under which users pay according to where and when they travel.
Technological enhancements, such as GPS tracking, now make it easier than ever to monitor vehicle use.
It is time to use these technologies as the basis of a fairer, more responsive approach to road pricing which delivers investment where it is most needed – not where it is most politically expedient.
This measure will undoubtedly produce its fair share of controversy.
In its submission, the ALC recommends that in order to manage that, it will be important to have a respected, independent umpire in charge of making pricing decisions. The ALC suggests that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is the most appropriate body.
To ensure its effectiveness as an independent economic regulator for the transport sector, it may be prudent for the ACCC to appoint a specialist Commissioner to deal with transport and logistics issues.
Further, the ACCC should establish a specialist unit to identify regulatory issues in the transport sector, working closely with industry stakeholders and state and local governments to ensure a pricing approach that delivers the right investment outcomes.
Freight Doesn’t Vote does not shy away from recommending initiatives that may prove to be politically challenging in the short term – particularly when it comes to having greater Commonwealth involvement in planning, as well as road pricing and investment reform.
The political challenges associated with pursuing difficult reforms now, however, will be as nothing compared with the political and economic pain that will be the lot of future governments if we fail to get the policy settings right today.

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Road Freight NSW to operate as independent body

Road Freight NSW (RFNSW) will become an independent organisation from 1 January 2018 “to better serve its New South Wales membership base.”
The organisation began as ATA NSW in 2007 and changed its name to Road Freight NSW in 2015.
It is currently a subsidiary of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), and from January will continue to be a member of the organisation.
RFNSW will now work independently to campaign on policies affecting the New South Wales transport sector, primarily heavy-vehicle safety, the regulatory regimes stifling business growth and the unwarranted surcharges, like stevedores’ port taxes, being imposed on carriers.
Road Freight NSW Chairman Jon Luff said that while the organisation is committed to policy development nationally, there is a need for an independent body in New South Wales to allow strong advocacy at a state level.
“We will be the local voice for local truck carriers, providing support and advocacy on behalf of our members, who now include some of the country’s largest transport companies,” he said.
“We have enjoyed our collaboration with the ATA and its board, directors and General Council. It’s an exciting time for Road Freight NSW and our membership. It will prove to be a game changer for the sector.”
ATA Chair Geoff Crouch said the name Road Freight NSW reflects the organisation’s independent and authoritative viewpoint.
“The move underscores the strength of Road Freight NSW and the vital advocacy role it plays across the state,” he said. “It will enable the ATA to better support member-based organisations throughout Australia, and to represent members across all tiers of government.
“We operate in a complex regulatory environment and the issues vary across states. Having a member-owned and -operated organisation to represent local members is a big achievement, and critical so all voices can be heard.
“Strong advocacy is critical to our members, right across Australia.”

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