ATA calls for ACCC to regulate road, port charges

Australia’s competition watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), should take over regulating toll road and landside port charges, Ben Maguire CEO of the Australian Truck Association said on 28 July.
The Australian Government is considering setting up an independent regulator to control truck and bus registration charges and road user charges that truck and bus operators pay on fuel.
Maguire commented that the independent regulator – ultimately the ACCC – should be responsible for toll road and landside port charges as well.
“Toll road charges for trucks are growing rapidly,” he added. “Small trucking businesses simply cannot afford them. Although these charges are set by state governments, the arrangements for setting them are not transparent and do not take into account costs across the supply chain.
“The ATA and its members have similar concerns about landside port charges.
“Earlier in 2017, DP World unilaterally increased the infrastructure surcharge at its Melbourne terminal and imposed a new surcharge of $21.16 per container at its Port Botany terminal. ATA member association Road Freight NSW pointed out that the Port Botany surcharge could cost carriers up to $150,000 per year.
“Separately, Patrick increased its existing surcharges this month, and introduced a $4.76 surcharge per container at its Fremantle terminal and a $25.45 surcharge per container at its Port Botany terminal.
“These charge increases cannot be avoided by trucking operators – they have not been subject to detailed regulatory scrutiny, they simply build additional costs into Australia’s supply chains.
“To fix these problems, heavy-vehicle tolls and landside port charges should be set by the road-price regulator, which should ultimately be the ACCC or a dedicated body established under its Act.”
Maguire said governments must start the reform process by fixing the overcharging of truck and bus operators.
“Truck and bus operators will be overcharged by $264.8 million in 2017–18. The meter is ticking up by more than $725,000 per day,” he noted.
“It’s time for governments to take action and stop overcharging the hard-working small businesses that make up the vast majority of operators in our industry.”
 

GeelongPort unveils new strategy for Port’s future

Victoria’s largest regional port has unveiled a new brand identity along with a renewed strategy for the Port of Geelong’s future.
GeelongPort CEO, Brett Winter, announced on 26 July that GeelongPort would look to be considered as “more than just a port of call.”
“GeelongPort provides an opportunity for port customers to integrate their operations locally and take advantage of the benefits Geelong has to offer,” he said.
“Today we’re very excited to introduce a fresh new look for GeelongPort and a robust strategy that will enable our customers to connect with their markets more effectively than ever before.
The Port handles a quarter of Victoria’s exports, contributing almost 450 million dollars to the state’s economy.
“By 2035, the Port of Geelong is predicted to handle more than 18 million tonnes of imports and exports, generating 3,100 jobs,” Winter added.
“Our rural regions rely on GeelongPort to help move key bulk and break bulk goods, including crude oil, petroleum products, chemicals, steel, woodchips, fertilisers and grains, without having to bear the brunt of costs associated with a capital city port.”
A recent economic impact study found that trade and employment in the Port of Geelong is forecast to increase by 50 per cent by 2035.
“GeelongPort currently has land available to help drive these growth opportunities,” said Winter.
“We have capacity at Corio Quay and Lascelles Wharf that would give port users the excellent connectivity Geelong offers, including excellent access via road, rail, sea or air and a well-developed transport network with fast and efficient connectivity between Victoria’s two largest cities and beyond.”

DP World launches logistics arm

Stevedoring company DP World Australia (DPWA) has launched DP World Logistics Australia, a new operating company offering transport and intermodal solutions.
As part of the re-branding, a new business ‘Botany Intermodal’ will be housed within DP World Logistics Australia.
The move into landside logistics is part of a long-term strategy to move beyond the port gate, offering efficiencies to customers and other stakeholders in the supply chain, the company explained in a statement.
Paul Scurrah, Managing Director and CEO, DP World Australia, said the new DP World Logistics Australia brand and Botany Intermodal business in the Port Botany precinct is a natural extension of a local and global network stretching across DP World’s 70 international container terminals.
“As a critical link in the cargo logistics chain, we’re growing our Australian business in a way that makes sense,” Scurrah said.
“This new intermodal business aligns with our plans to develop operations that complement DP World Australia’s stevedoring business.”
With more than 25 years’ experience in the shipping, logistics and stevedoring industry, Mark Hulme will lead the new DP World Logistics Australia business as Chief Operating Officer – Logistics.
Hulme says customers and stakeholders will benefit from improved stability and customer service integration down the logistics chain.
“DP World Logistics Australia will offer fast and efficient container coordination, movement, cleaning, repairs, refurbishment and storage services to customers who are transiting container freight into and out of the terminals,” said Hulme.
“Botany Intermodal is connected to the Southern Sydney Freight Line, which will drive improved rail efficiency and speed of service for adjacent stevedoring operations. This opens the opportunity for rail operators to load empties within the port precinct.
“As the nation’s largest container stevedore, we are confident we can further develop our strong stakeholder relationships and continue to build value for DP World Australia’s customers.”
Botany Intermodal will operate out of two locations – Park 1, at 1890 Botany Road (formerly known as Sydney Haulage) and Park 2, at Bumborah Point (also formerly known as Smith Brothers).
Manager – Logistics, NSW, John Towers, will lead the Sydney-based arm of DP World Logistics Australia.
“Botany Intermodal will be Port Botany’s only fully integrated container logistics park,” said Towers.
Covering 15.3 hectares, Botany Intermodal is one of the largest empty container parks in Sydney.
“Our strategic location means we are the more convenient of Sydney’s two full-service container logistics parks,” Towers added.

ALC welcomes Sydney freight planning publication

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has welcomed a new publication from the Greater Sydney Commission, noting that it underscores just how important proper planning and the preservation of key freight corridors is to ensuring the efficient operation of Sydney’s freight transport network over the next four decades.
“[The] ALC welcomes Directions for a Greater Sydney, particularly its emphasis on sustained investment in freight corridors, such as the Northern Sydney Freight Corridor and the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal,” said Michael Kilgariff, Managing Director, ALC.
“As the Commission correctly notes, the construction of Western Sydney Airport will be the catalyst for significant additional economic expansion in Western Sydney in the years ahead. This facility will complement the freight activity that already occurs at Sydney Airport and Port Botany, and help a burgeoning city meet its future freight task.
“It’s pleasing to note the Commission has also highlighted the importance of the Port Botany rail line duplication – a project which [the] ALC has long argued is vital in ensuring the city’s freight network is able to keep pace with growing demand,” Kilgariff added.
“[The] ALC strongly supports the WestConnex project and its potential to improve traffic flows and alleviate congestion for freight logistics operators using the Sydney road network.
“There is no doubt the Sydney Gateway has improved the project, and ALC looks forward to clarification as to how it will connect with Port Botany and Sydney Airport, given the critical role these two facilities play in the city’s freight network.
“The recurring theme that emerges in Directions for a Greater Sydney is that all stakeholders accept the need for strategically planned investments that will provide certainly and clarity for investors and local communities alike.”
 

FTA, APSA looking into container storage fees

The Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA) has reported that it continues to receive enquiries from its members about storage and ‘dehire’ (return) detention fees for import sea freight consignments targeted for Container Examination Facility (CEF) processing.
As a part of their joint submission to the Federal Government’s Inquiry into Freight & Supply Chain Priorities, the FTA and the Australian Peak Shippers Association (APSA) has recommended that CEF-targeted containers have storage arrangements prescribed in Melbourne, Brisbane and Fremantle ports, to meet the benchmark established in Sydney under the Port Botany Landside Improvement Strategy (PBLIS) Mandatory Standards. Specifically, PBLIS clause 17, which mandates that stevedores must provide free storage for the day the container is returned from the CEF, and the two following days.
While the Australian Border Forced and the PBLIS have introduced a level of relief against stevedores fees for CEF-targeted containers, the FTA noted, to date there are no similar arrangements in place with shipping lines. Whether or not reporting has been completed within prescribed timelines, shipping lines commonly charge a fee if containers are not dehired to an empty container park within agreed terms.
The FTA and the APSA have brought this matter to the attention of the Inquiry, seeking a fairer and more reasonable operational outcome allowing extended free container dehire periods.
A fact sheet has been prepared which outlines the current statutory and operational procedures for dealing with CEF targeted containers.

LeadWest calls for solution to empty container problem

LeadWest, the advocacy group for Melbourne’s west, has called for the Andrews Government to urgently progress development for an inland rail terminal for freight to relocate shipping container parks, and get dangerous and polluting truck traffic off roads in Melbourne’s west.
While truck bans have been announced on Francis, Somerville and Buckley streets as part of the West Gate Tunnel project, LeadWest has estimated that the majority of the 10,000 truck trips along those streets involve the transportation of shipping containers which are being transported to and from the port to empty container parks located in Tottenham, Brooklyn, West Footscray and Yarraville.
The Western Interstate Freight Terminal (WIFT) is outlined in the Victorian Government’s Plan Melbourne to be built in Truganina and has been in pre-feasibility stage for years without progress, the group noted.
LeadWest has called for the WIFT to be developed urgently so container parks and associated traffic can be relocated to a more appropriate location.
“As this type of trucking usually involves slim profit margins, often the vehicles are old and poor quality, worsening the impacts on communities,” the group said in a statement. “Developing the WIFT and associated freight activity centre would enable container parks to be relocated and the transport of both full and empty containers to the port occur via rail.”
Craig Rowley, CEO, LeadWest said, “Empty shipping containers are almost the biggest export from the Port of Melbourne.
“Empty shipping containers are stored in container parks in Brooklyn and Tottenham and then trucked in their thousands to the Port of Melbourne along residential streets.”
Speaking to Logistics & Materials Handling, Peter Anderson, CEO of the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) noted that empty containers will be necessary so long as Australia has a working port, since the country imports more containerised goods than it exports.
“As the port continues to grow we need to strike a better balance between road and rail to enable those movements,” he added. “An intermodal hub is essential for this balanced to be achieved.
“The VTA has put forward a number of sensible solutions to the government to reduce the impact of heavy-vehicle movements on local roads, such as multi-user discounts on tolls, efficiency rebates for low emission vehicles.” and specialist training for drivers operating in the area.
 

DP World Australia and Cosco Shipping announce new agreement

DP World Australia has signed an agreement with Cosco Shipping Lines to be stevedore of choice on all major services into Australia.
Chinese container liner company Cosco Shipping Lines has major services in Australia calling at DP World Australia terminals in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.
Paul Scurrah, CEO and Managing Director, DP World Australia, said this contract will deliver the majority of containers through DP World Australia for an extended contract period, resulting in a stronger relationship between the companies.
Brian Gillespie, Chief Commercial Officer, DP World Australia, added that Cosco Shipping is successfully growing its global market share in a fiercely competitive global shipping market.
“We are incredibly pleased to be chosen as the stevedore and logistics partner of choice by Cosco Shipping Lines as they continue to successfully grow their volumes between Asia, Australia and the rest of the world,” said Gillespie.
Yong Pan, Managing Director, Cosco Shipping – Oceania, said that DP World Australia had demonstrated a level of service that set them apart in Australia.
“Last year, we selected DP World Australia as our major stevedore service for our Australian flagship A3 services,” said Pan. “This agreement confirms our selection of DP World Australia as our stevedoring and logistics partner in Australia.
“My congratulations to all at DP World Australia for their efforts and commitment to COSCO shipping.”

MEGATRANS2018 to host Global Shippers Forum in Melbourne

The world’s most senior shippers and logistics providers will be meeting in Melbourne on 8 to 11 May 2018 to discuss trade facilitation, international logistics challenges and other macro-trends affecting global trade. The event will be held as part of MEGATRANS2018, Australia’s leading logistics and supply chain event.
The Global Shippers Forum (GSF), based in London, is the world’s leading trade association for shippers engaged in international trade, including all modes of transport. Its role centres on international logistics policy and it represents shippers’ interests in the major UN agencies including the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the World Customs Organisation (WCO).
It will be the first time the event has been held in Australasia.
“We are excited about the prospect of holding the 2018 meeting in Melbourne,” commented Chris Welsh MBE, Secretary-General, GSF. “This will afford the opportunity of connecting with members in Australasia on issues of concern within the Asia Pacific region and internationally.”
The event will be curated by Australia’s representative to the Global Shippers Forum, the Australian Peak Shippers Association (APSA), an association representing Australia’s top containerised exporters by volume.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Australian importers, exporters and logistics providers, to be at the forefront of global policy and compliance issues,” said Paul Blake, Chairman, APSA. “APSA has represented Australia’s shippers since 1992 and we are proud to be able to host the global trade community for this event.”
Melbourne secured the event with the support of the Victorian Government’s Melbourne Convention Bureau and private sector sponsor, the Port of Melbourne. It will attract hundreds of local and international delegates, including representatives from inter-governmental organisations, demonstrating Melbourne’s credentials as a destination of choice for global business events.
Find out more about MEGATRANS2018.

VTA urges operators to pass on Patrick fees increases

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has advised members to pass on in full increases to infrastructure surcharges announced on 9 June by stevedore Patrick.
Patrick will introduce a new surcharge at its Sydney and Fremantle terminals, $25.45 per box and $4.76 per box, respectively.
The surcharge at its Fisherman Islands and East Swanson Dock terminals will increase by $32.55 per box and $32 per box, respectively. It will also increase its ancillary charges due to increased labour and energy costs.  The new rates will take effect on 19 July.
Peter Anderson, CEO, VTA, said operators had no choice but to pass on the higher surcharge.
“At a time when operators are facing unprecedented increases to infrastructure and road user charges in and around the Port of Melbourne, it is important to ensure the increases are passed on through the supply chain for freight businesses to remain sustainable and viable in a competitive trading environment,” he said.
“Customers need to understand that the costs of doing business for transport operators are increasing rapidly, and that transactional costs such as this surcharge ultimately must be worn by consumers of goods and services.”
Anderson commended Patrick for extending one-stop trading terms from seven to 30 days, which will help operators transition and adjust for the changes to the surcharge.
 

VTA celebrates project progress and industry resilience

Victorian Transport Association (VTA) CEO Peter Anderson has highlighted the major productivity challenges facing Australian freight and logistics operator in opening remarks to the VTA’s annual State Conference at Lorne.
Anderson said in a big-picture sense, it is a challenging time for all freight operators.
“Freight movements are generally down thanks to a stagnant economy, and operator margins that are already stretched thin are being further squeezed by higher input and variable costs. We are also operating in an increasing regulatory environment and having to adapt our businesses to satisfy and comply with additional regulatory oversight.”
Anderson explained operators are also facing higher road and infrastructure user charges, which eat into profits and erode margins.
“These factors highlight the need for operators to extract greater productivity from their systems, their equipment, their people, their customers and their suppliers to remain viable and successful.”
Anderon noted that there are a lot of exciting things happening in the industry across technology and innovation, safety and training and human resources, and infrastructure.
“We now have a North East Link Authority established and are actively putting together the business case and corridor study for the connection, which will finally link the M80 to EastLink or the Eastern Freeway,” he said.
“This has long been the VTA’s priority road infrastructure project and we are playing an active role in the consultation and planning for the connection, which the current Victorian Government has committed to take to the next election.
Anderson also reflected on the considerable progress made on the West Gate Tunnel project. The Victorian Government last week released additional plans and environmental modelling for the project, which will provide better access to the Port of Melbourne for heavy vehicles.
“While we support the project, we are unimpressed with plans to permanently curfew trucks from existing roads and force them to use a toll road. We’re working closely with the treasurer and the roads minister on incentives for trucks to use the new freeway, such as toll rebates and reduced tolls at nights, as well as exempting modern and efficient vehicles from the proposed curfews.”
Anderson explained that the Association is encouraging infrastructure planning and investments in the Port of Melbourne to ensure it remains Australia’s biggest.
“There are many issues working against freight volumes increasing within the Port of Melbourne, so it’s important we plan now for short- and long-term infrastructure needs at the Port to keep it competitive,” he said.
“This includes improving rail access via Port Rail Shuttles, proper road and rail infrastructure planning for freight movements in and out of the new Webb Dock Terminal, and upgrading infrastructure to accommodate high productivity freight vehicles.”

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