Platinum Freight launches first regional office, in NSW

Customs clearance broker Platinum Freight Management will launch its first regional office this month, in Wyong, New South Wales.
Peter McRae, CEO, Platinum Freight Management, sees the area as an attractive and fast-growing home base for importers and exporters who need large warehousing facilities, citing its proximity to major international ports in Sydney and Newcastle.
“Importers and exporters in the Wyong, Gosford and surrounds have enormous comparative freight and logistics costs due to their distance from international ports, so reducing extraneous costs should be a high priority,” said McRae. “Yet until now there has been an undersupply of internationally experienced customs brokers in the local area who can partner with them to offer premium advice in person.”
“We are looking to make strong partnerships with local importers and exporters on the coast and help make a difference to their businesses,” McRae added.
“We have designed our business to deliver a positive customer experience to all clients, commensurate with our motto: Simply no higher level of service,” said McRae. “Being local is an important part of this promise.”

APSA, FTA challenge booking cancellation fee increases

On 30 August 2017, Maersk published an industry notice announcing an increase in Booking Cancellation Fees from $100 to $250 per 20′/40′ dry container.
The Australian Peak Shippers Association (APSA) and Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA) have since received reports that other shipping lines are preparing to announce similar increases, APSA Secretariat Travis Brookes-Garrett reported in a statement.
APSA subsequently engaged senior executives at Maersk Line Australia on 31 August 2017 to challenge the increase, finding that it has been introduced due to an increase in container ‘no shows’. Maersk will reportedly provide data shortly to validate the claim.
“APSA maintains the position that two-way accountability should exist,” said Brookes-Garrett. “If shippers and forwarders are faced with punitive cancellation fees, then they should also be compensated by the shipping lines when bookings or containers are rolled.
“In a competitive marketplace, APSA and FTA encourage other shipping lines to consider the realities of Australia’s agri-export economy before the introduction of punitive fees. If accountability exists then it should exist for both the shipper and the shipping line.”
While the increased booking cancellation fees are in effect, Maersk has confirmed that consideration may be given where there are genuine extenuating circumstances.

Merger of former Albany, Bunbury, Esperance ports under review

The former Albany, Bunbury and Esperance port authorities were merged to form the Southern Ports Authority in October 2014 as part of the first tranche of port governance reforms.
Nearly three years after the amalgamation, a review will now consider the performance of the relevant ports before and after amalgamation to ascertain whether the expected benefits have been achieved, whether original concerns about the merger have been justified and if further changes are required for the future operation of the ports.
A working group will provide a report with findings and recommendations to the Minister for Transport by December 2017. The group is chaired by Agricultural Region MLC Laurie Graham and will include representatives from the Department of Transport and the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation.
“Now that nearly three years have passed, it is time to conduct a post-implementation review to evaluate what benefits have been achieved as a result of the amalgamation,” said Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.
“The purpose of the review is to evaluate the outcomes of amalgamating the Albany, Bunbury and Esperance port authorities to form Southern Ports.
“It’s clear to me from my travels in the South-West, Great Southern and Goldfields-Esperance regions in the past couple of years that people hold a range of views about the success or otherwise of the amalgamation, and whether it has been good for the regions.
“The working group will go into the process with an open mind and will present their findings to Government towards the end of the year.”

Two spots remain in TCA Tech hub

Positioned at the heart of MEGATRANS2018, Transport Certification Australia’s Telematics Hub has proved a popular component for next year’s show with just two exhibition spaces left.
The multi-modal transport and logistics event will take place at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from 10 to 12 May 2018. Spread across a 30,000m2 footprint, the show will distinguish between four distinct functional areas, including; Logistics and Materials Handling, Warehouse & Storage, Infrastructure; Road Transport and Air, Sea & Rail.
The TCA’s Telematics Hub is a core section of the event’s Technology Showcase, which will straddle the entire exhibition floor to reinforce the importance of technological trends such as Internet of Things, Industry 4.0, Intelligent Infrastructure and Intelligent Multimodal Transport Solutions.
With a focus on increasing productivity through intelligent multimodal transport solutions, the TCA Telematics Hub will showcase world-leading technology from telematics specialists such as Teletrac Navman and Tramanco, and demonstrate how Australia leads the way.
Find out more on the MEGATRANS2018 website.

Transport bodies form alliance against truck taxes

Road Freight NSW (RFNSW) has joined forces with its interstate counterpart, the Western Australian Road Transport Association (WARTA), in a renewed fight against landside surcharges imposed by stevedores at ports across the country.
RFNSW General Manager Simon O’Hara met with WARTA Executive Officer Cam Dumesny on 29 August, observing freight movements and out of the Port Botany terminals and getting feedback from carriers about the impact the new levies were having on their day to day operations.
“In New South Wales and Western Australia, truck operators, particularly those smaller, family-run businesses, are hurting,” said O’Hara.
“RFNSW and WARTA have now decided to use our collective strength in bringing the stevedores to account, for the sake of our members.
He noted that stevedores imposed the “unjustified” taxes on “hardworking truck operators” without any regulatory scrutiny.
“We are concerned about the dangerous domino effect this has had on industry,” O’Hara added. “Since stevedores started imposing these charges, other operators with significant supply chain power have also begun slugging transport operators.
“RFNSW and WARTA believe we need an independent body, ultimately the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission), to be called in to put the brakes on the stevedores and start regulating landside port charges.
“We believe the recent Federal Court finding, which allows the ACCC to monitor and regulate pricing at the Port of Newcastle, means the ACCC should be in a position to review the situation at Australia’s ports,” he said.
“Accordingly, RFNSW and WARTA will make a joint submission to the ACCC, again calling for an investigation and independent umpire to review any financial charges.”

Kalmar to deliver container handling machines to DP World Logistics Australia

Container handling technology manufacturer Kalmar, part of Cargotec, will deliver 38 new machines to DP World Australia’s recently launched logistics arm, DP World Logistics Australia.
The order includes seven Kalmar reachstackers, and 11 loaded and 20 empty container handlers. So far, 22 units have successfully been delivered to DP World Logistics Australia’s Botany Intermodal terminal, with the remaining equipment to be delivered by September 2017.
The new machines add to DP World Australia’s existing fleet of Kalmar rubber-tyred gantry cranes (RTGs), straddle carriers and terminal tractors and will serve operations in Sydney, Melbourne, Fremantle and DP World Australia’s semi-automated terminal in Brisbane.
The Kalmar reachstackers will be equipped with Kalmar K-Motion transmission technology, which secures uptime and productivity while reducing fuel consumption and emissions. Four units will also include overheight legs. All the Kalmar machines will be powered by Volvo IV Final engines to meet emissions standards and will feature the Kalmar SmartFleet system for performance-boosting remote monitoring and reporting.
“Kalmar won a competitive tender to renew, and increase, our fleet of machines in all our facilities around Australia,” said Ron French, National Engineering Manager at DP World Australia. “Our existing relationship gave us leverage to secure the best outcome for DP World Australia, with respect to pricing, service and ongoing support. The K-Motion option was very attractive due to lower fuel consumption and environmental impact.”
Michael Wahab, Director Mobile Equipment at Kalmar, added, “We are happy to continue to serve DP World Logistics Australia with reliable and efficient equipment tailored to their needs. The units are also equipped with environmentally conscious technology, including innovative K-Motion technology to significantly lessen fuel usage and reduce emissions by up to 40 per cent.”

Government backs Port of Melbourne rail shuttle

The Australian and Victorian Governments have announced that they will back several projects aimed at taking trucks off local roads and connecting major Victorian freight hubs with the Port of Melbourne, using the existing rail network.
The Governments will soon seek expressions of interest to deliver a series of rail freight ‘shuttle’ initiatives on the existing rail network by connecting the port to major freight hubs and businesses.
Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the proposal would take advantage of rail’s ability to shift larger volumes of freight than trucks, while also busting congestion in Victoria’s capital.
“The Australian Government’s free trade agreements are seeing a boom in exports, which has led to trucks taking more produce and freight to the ports,” said Chester.
“This project will provide the ability to shift larger volumes of freight via rail compared to trucks, and reduce congestion on our roads.
“The freight and logistics industry had identified rail’s potential to reduce transport costs by about 10 per cent, with the proposal potentially improving Australia’s competitiveness, which is why the Australian Government is investing $8.4 billion in the Inland Rail project connecting Brisbane and Melbourne.”
Victorian Minister for Roads, Road Safety and Ports Luke Donnellan said the initiative will take trucks off local roads in Melbourne’s inner west.
“The Port of Melbourne will remain our primary freight hub for a generation. With container numbers expected to double over the next two decades we need to act now to share the load between road and rail,” Donnellan said.
“Alongside the West Gate Tunnel, 24-hour truck bans in the inner west and the Port’s rail access plans, this project will help shift containers from residential streets onto dedicated routes to the port.”
Michael Kilgariff, Managing Director, ALC, welcomed the Governments’ support of rail freight.
“Moving more freight to rail, where it makes sense commercially, has the potential to significantly improve freight efficiency, while at the same time improving urban amenity, reducing road congestion and decreasing queuing times at ports,” Kilgariff said.
“[The] ALC has been a consistent supporter of the Port Rail Shuttle project, which will be a significant enhancement to the Port of Melbourne, producing real benefits for freight efficiency in Victoria, and across the nation’s supply chains.
“In NSW, the state government is committed to doubling the amount of freight entering and leaving Port Botany by rail, which currently sits at 19.3 per cent. NSW Ports is likewise committed to moving 3 million TEU by rail over the longer term.
“There needs to be an equal focus on promoting greater use of short haul rail services for freight movement in Victoria.
“The Port Rail Shuttle will build on other significant investments being made in freight infrastructure – including the Inland Rail project, which will link the Port of Melbourne with the Port of Brisbane when fully completed.
“Constructing the Port Rail Shuttle to provide a rail connection between the Port of Melbourne and inland ports in Victoria is a crucially important aspect of improving the state’s freight network and driving greater supply chain efficiency and safety.”

Input invited for Gladstone port master plan

The Gladstone port master plan, designed to drive economic development in and around Gladstone’s port and protect the Great Barrier Reef, is open for public input, as shared by Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, The Hon. Dr Anthony Lynham.
Lynham said the draft master plan sets out growth opportunities and an environmental management framework to ensure job-generating sustainable development.
“Master planning for the priority Port of Gladstone will set the course for growth at Queensland’s largest multi-cargo port,” said Lynham.
“The plan identifies a vision for the area to 2050, including a sharp focus on protecting our iconic reef and safeguarding the outstanding universal value of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area well into the future.”
Gladstone is the first of Queensland’s four priority ports to subject to master planning under laws introduced by the Palaszczuk Government in 2015. Those laws put into effect the Government’s key port-related commitments in the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan.
Master planning has started at Townsville, and preliminary processes are under way for Abbot Point and Hay Point/Mackay.
“Priority ports represent the engines of our economy and master plans will be blueprints on their sustainable development, boosting investor confidence and job growth,” added Lynham.
“We have been working with Gladstone Ports Corporation, the local council, state agencies, the Australian Government and key industry and community groups to prepare the draft master plan, and we are now inviting the community to have its say.”
Submissions on the draft master plan close on Monday, 9 October 2017, and a final master plan and final master planned area will be finalised by mid-2018.

ACCC given port pricing regulation power

A Federal Court ruling has given the Australian Competition and Consumer Competition (ACCC) power to monitor and regulate pricing at the Port of Newcastle.
Road Freight NSW (RFNSW) General Manager Simon O’Hara said RFNSW was carefully analysing the ruling but described it as a “precedent case of intervention for the regulator.”
“It certainly sends a very strong message to industry about price gouging and that price increases need to be on the basis of an actual increase in costs,” O’Hara said.
RFNSW has thus called for the ACCC to act on new stevedore taxes imposed on truck operators.
“We believe there’s a lesson to be learnt here for stevedores, given that they have burdened our members with unreasonable increases in charges for accessing their terminals at Port Botany.
“They’re on notice.
“In light of the Federal Court’s ruling, RFNSW is again calling on the ACCC to act, for the sake of our members and other users of port infrastructure.”
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has reminded the ACCC to ensure it is sufficiently resourced and has personnel possessing experience in the operation and/or regulation of logistics infrastructure.
“There are many specialist and complex issues at work with the operation of supply chains and logistics infrastructure,” said Michael Kilgariff, Managing Director, ALC.
“[The] Federal Court decision seems to point to increasing ACCC involvement in pricing and access issues at ports.
“If that is going to be the case, then it is imperative that the ACCC ensures it is properly resourced with personnel who have had exposure to and experience in dealing with the complex and unique nature of these infrastructure assets,” he said.
“Any regulatory role played by the ACCC in the freight logistics sector must be fit for purpose.”

New Port Botany app to ease congestion

An innovative piece of mobile technology is set to make freight movements in and out of Port Botany easier to plan and more efficient.
Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey said that over 3,000 containers move in and out of Port Botany each week day by road, and new technology would help ease congestion.
“Until now, Port Botany performance and status information was only available on a closed system account to a limited number of stevedores and road carriers,” said Pavey.
“Through the new app, live data will be freely available and will allow industry stakeholders to see what’s happening in the port precinct.
“It will also focus on real-time truck turnaround and performance data in order to enable better freight planning into and around Port Botany.”
Free to download and available on iOS and Android, the Port Botany Performance App makes live cargo movement data for Port Botany available to trucking companies, stevedores and other port users.
The app was built on the New South Wales Government’s Cargo Movement Coordination Centre’s (CMCC) IT platform.
Pavey said users will be able to use the app to better plan and optimise arrival times for trucks and reduce heavy vehicle queues entering the port.
“Not only will this allow Port Botany to operate more efficiently, it will reduce the impacts of road freight movements and ease congestion around the precinct,” she said.
The CMCC is already improving efficiency by using a range of technology to capture real-time freight movements, including a network of Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) readers within Port Botany.
“Through a combination of technology and working collaborative with Port Botany users, truck turnaround times have been cut by more than 17 per cent in the last four years and rail mode share is at a record 19 per cent.
“The port contributes $3.2 billion to gross state product each year. We have to make sure we are working alongside industry leaders and stakeholders to keep up with a thriving industry.”

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