Trucks awaiting entry to one of Port Botany’s container yards. ABC photo.
Peak body Road Freight NSW (RFNSW) says it is unfair that truck operators already reeling from mounting port access fees have now been slugged with new charges for pick-ups and drop-offs at Sydney container parks. From February 1, if a truck arrives at DP World Logistics more than 60 minutes prior to the start of the nominated ‘Notification Window’, the carrier will be forced to pay an ‘Off Window Surcharge’ of $25.50 per booking. If a truck arrives more than 60 minutes after the end of the nominated slot, the carrier will also incur the same $25.50 ‘Off Window Surcharge’. If a truck arrives within its ‘Notification Window’, the charge will be $16.50. RFNSW chief executive Simon O’Hara said its members are asking why the new surcharges are being imposed on carriers given that the operation of empty container parks appear to be “inefficient, unproductive and haphazard”. “It’s a new year and another new surcharge for truck operators,” Mr O’Hara said. “Our members are angry and frustrated they’ve been hit with further fees which are making their daily operations unsustainable. “Notification windows for truck arrivals aren’t always available at short notice and it’s unfair that the length of time drivers may sit waiting in the rank waiting to be processed isn’t taken in to account when these surcharges are being applied. “That’s why our members believe the penalties are unwarranted and yet another cost impost, on top of the new DP World infrastructure fee of $63.80 per container at the Port Botany terminal, which came in to effect on January 1. “The quantum of these charges is impacting carriers and making it harder and harder for them to run their businesses.” Mr O’Hara said RFNSW will be meeting with DP World Logistics today in order to raise its concerns on behalf of its members.
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.”