VTA stresses need for Port of Melbourne access strategy

A Victorian Government submission by new Port of Melbourne owner the Lonsdale Consortium has exposed flaws in planning for future growth and the Port’s capacity to handle an anticipated increase in the volume of freight expected to be moved in and out of the Port of Melbourne, according to the Victorian Transport Association (VTA).
The VTA has warned that if road and rail access issues are not suitably addressed, the Port of Melbourne will lose business to ports in other states, impacting the Victorian economy and threatening jobs.
“The VTA has long held the view that road and rail access to the Port has been neglected, and this submission confirms that if meaningful and significant changes aren’t made now that caters to future freight movement increases via road and rail, Victoria will lose business to other states,” said VTA CEO Peter Anderson.
“We need all of the infrastructure flagged in the submission, such as rail access to the new Webb Dock terminal, strengthening of bridges for longer and more efficient High Productivity Freight Vehicles, a freeway between CityLink and the Western Ring Road, and even East-West Link.
“And while we may not be able to afford it now, we at least need a sensible, long-term blueprint that prioritises future construction so that we aren’t wasting money on piecemeal solutions that are based on election cycles instead of the genuine needs of the economy,” he said.
Anderson said recommendations in the submission for the government to encourage more truck movements at night made complete sense.
“The best way to free up traffic during the day for commuters is to create policy settings and incentives for road and rail operators to access the 24-hour Port of Melbourne at night,” he said.
“This would also create amenity improvements for residents and efficiencies for operators, leading to productivity improvements for operators. Instead of banning trucks from port access roads and increasing tolls disproportionally, why not reduce tolls for trucks at night and actually encourage them to use the road? This is the sort of creative thinking that has been lacking to date, and we welcome discussion the submission will inevitably create that will lead to greater productivity and efficiency at the Port of Melbourne,” he said.

Qube acquires freight forwarder Austrans

Qube’s port logistics division, Qube Logistics, has acquired national rail freight forwarder Austrans, along with its facilities in Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane.
John Digney, Logistics Director, Qube said the acquisition is significant as it provides Qube Logistics the ability to deliver additional services to its customer base.
“Austrans is a market leader in the national rail freight forwarding market; it has built a substantial business by focusing on an excellent customer service culture combined with delivering efficient services for its customers,” added Digney.
“Austrans provides a great platform for Qube in the domestic freight logistics market that will provide significant paths for growth.”
Austrans was founded in Melbourne, Victoria, in 1986 by Peter O’Shea. The logistics company now employs over 60 staff members, numerous subcontractors and has a comprehensive local transport fleet supported by a national container fleet of approximately 300 units.
O’Shea, Owner and Director of Austrans, will remain in the business to assist with the transition.
“I am very excited for the staff and customers of Austrans,” said O’Shea. “Qube Logistics offers a great opportunity for all parties to be part of a growing national logistics business.”
Peter Vertkas, CEO, Austrans will continue to lead the business.
“I am delighted with the opportunity to continue to lead the business within a major national logistics provider which will provide greater opportunity for our management and staff and a greater offering to our valued customers,” Vertkas said.

New CEO for Ports Australia

Ports Australia announced the appointment of the Hon. Michael Gallacher as the Chief Executive Officer of Ports Australia on 7 April.
This selection process was rigorous and drew applicants from a wide variety of backgrounds across the nation, Ports Australia said in a statement.
“Gallacher’s long standing interest and understanding of ports and shipping related issues, together with his widely acknowledged advocacy and policy development skills were instrumental in his successful application,” the statement continued.
“His relationship with our industry developed with his appointment as Shadow Minister for Ports following the 2003 NSW State election and from that time he has been the strongest advocate for the future growth and advancement of our industry.
“Through his career, Michael has progressed into other areas of political responsibility, such as Industrial Relations, Police and Emergency Services and yet he has always maintained an interest and a preparedness to understand the challenges and opportunities affecting ports across the nation.
Vincent Tremaine, Chairman, Ports Australia said “There is no doubt that Michael will build on the outstanding leadership and direction set by our former CEO, David Anderson, to drive the public profile of Ports Australia and to strongly advocate on the issues affecting the efficiency and development of our nation’s shipping gateways.
“Ports Australia would also like to sincerely thank David Anderson for remaining in his position in a part-time capacity during this transition period. We appreciate his ten years of exemplary service as Ports Australia’s CEO and we wish him all the best for his future endeavours”.
Gallacher will commence his role at Ports Australia on 18 April.

South Port NZ CEO resigns

South Port NZ Limited Chief Executive, Mark O’Connor has tendered his resignation and will leave the Bluff Port operation in late October.
South Port Chairman, Rex Chapman commented that the timing of the decision had been signalled to the Board for a number of years.
“The Board is naturally disappointed to lose a person of Mark’s calibre, particularly given the significant progress the Company has made over the last two decades while he has been at the helm,” the Port said in a statement.
“Mark and his team have worked hard to deliver effective freight solutions for
Southland based businesses and the Company is in excellent shape as it continues to focus on this clear objective.”
In the most recent financial year, South Port achieved a record cargo and profit, with volumes having lifted by 50 per cent or approximately 1.0 million tonnes since 2009.
Mark oversaw the refocusing of the business on the core freight delivery element, ensuring appropriate infrastructure existed to support bulk cargo growth (forestry/agri), maintaining container handling capability for the regional Port and establishing an Intermodal Freight Centre (IFC) in Invercargill.
During the period that Mark has served as CEO, South Port’s annual dividend increased from 5.5 cents per share to 26 cents while the share price lifted from $0.86 to its current level of $5.35 (an increase in market capitalisation of around $120 million).
O’Connor stated, “Approximately four years ago I advised the South Port Board that when I turned 55 years, I would take a detour in the road and exit the port sector.
“That date has come around quicker than I thought but it is appropriate for me to step back from a full-time role and identify other projects which may be of interest.
“It has been a privilege to operate in the CEO role for the past 17 years and to work for South Port for almost 25 years.”
The Board will commence the process of seeking a replacement for O’Connor immediately.

Maersk looking at on-land logistics in Australia

Shipping line Maersk is reportedly looking at opportunities to expand into on-land logistics operations as freight rates are dropping.
“We’ve got a vision to be the global integrator of container logistics,” Gerard Morrison, Managing Director – Oceania at Maersk told The Australian Financial Review (AFR).
“Shipping and logistics can be quite fragmented – multiple parties, multiple documents, multiple invoices – but we’re hoping to find ways to simplify that,” he added.
“At the moment, shipping is ‘shipping from port to port’ and the thought is, how can we help our customers deal with other parts of the supply chain?”
Morrison noted that in order to offer services such as container storage, customs clearance and trucking to the logistics sector in Australia, the liner may need to acquire other businesses – though there are no such plans in place at present. “If the right opportunity was there, we wouldn’t look away from it,” Morrison said.
Morrison reported that shipping volumes are improving worldwide, driven in part by the economies of Europe and Latin America. “Australia and New Zealand are doing very well, there’s very steady growth out of both markets,” he said. “Customers are asking us to carry more and more cargo.”

Government grant for VTA industry training

The Victorian Transport Association’s (VTA) acclaimed training program has received a significant boost thanks to a grant from the Victorian Government designed to help workers transition to a career in transport.
The grant was confirmed by Victorian Roads, Ports and Road Safety Minister Luke Donnellan at the VTA’s annual Ministerial Breakfast on Thursday 23 March.
It will provide the VTA with capacity to offer an additional 207 training and education places in both new and established courses.
“The Victorian Government welcomes the opportunity to partner with the Victorian Transport Association in expanding its training program and – importantly – targeting former automotive industry workers looking for second careers,” Minister Donnellan said.
“It’s a program that will introduce new people to the transport industry, train and educate them to be job-ready, place them in suitable roles and mentor them through the transition.”
Each of the places will lead to a position within a transport operation, fulfilling a key Victorian Government requirement that the grant place new employees into the transport industry.
“The major benefit of the VTA training program is that it produces job-ready candidates and then matches them with real employers, providing real jobs, paying real money,” said VTA CEO Peter Anderson. “As well as benefiting our industry, the Victorian economy gets a boost as well from having more people in the workforce.”
Anderson said training, education and skills development are vital parts of staff attraction and retention, especially for the transport industry which experiences frequent ebbs and flows in regulatory, licensing and operational requirements.
“Keeping pace with change can make or break a transport business. The VTA recognised this long ago and included skills training as a critical service offering, with hundreds of transport workers since participating in accredited VTA programs, whose benefits flow to employers and customers alike,” he said.
The program will be delivered across three streams including short- and long-form courses and workshops:

  1. Transition to Transport is an eight-module course that will attract those that are new to the industry and require more in-depth knowledge of supply chain, logistics, transport operations and associated regulations. Participants will be job-ready at the conclusion of the program and the VTA will mentor candidates in their first three months of employment.
  1. Driver Delivery is an intensive nine-day industry-ready driver-licensing course to be delivered in either heavy rigid synchromesh or heavy combination standards. Over 60 hours of hands-on training and instruction, drivers will receive advanced skills training covering OH&S, cabin drill, load restraint, loading docks, reversing and standard transport runs.
  1. The Transport Cadetship so successfully run under the auspices of the VTA Academy gets a considerable boost through the program with additional places available for young people joining the industry. The 10-month cadetship provides candidates with a Certificate IV in Transport and Logistics and matches them with employers looking to expand their team.

DP World postpones Melbourne and Sydney infrastructure surcharge

After consultation with the Victorian Transport Association (VTA), DP World Australia has agreed to push back the introduction of its new fee for containers at its Sydney and Melbourne terminals by two weeks, to Monday 17 April.
“There is no doubt that the new infrastructure surcharge rates to be applied to full containers delivered via road or rail at DP World Australia’s Melbourne and Sydney terminals will impact significantly on the transport industry in terms of cost, profit margin and other economic variables,” VTA CEO Peter Anderson told Logistics & Materials Handling. “The VTA has been in close consultation with many operators that have expressed concern about the increases to the surcharge, and our advice is to quickly enter into discussions with customers to negotiate passing on the full financial impact of the increase as soon practicable.”
DP World has agreed to postpone the commencement date of the new surcharge to give operators and industry additional time to negotiate with their customers, and to alleviate short-term cash flow issues that could be experienced from the fee taking effect.
“The increase is indeed dramatic, and must be passed on by operators directly to their customers in order to mitigate its impact,” Anderson said. “It is important that customers understand that the costs of doing business for transport operators are increasing rapidly, and that transactional costs such as this surcharge, and similar increases to tolls and levies, ultimately must be worn by customers and the end user.

DP World fee surge “unfair and discriminatory” say NSW trucking operators

Road Freight New South Wales (RFNSW) has called on the ACCC to investigate the new infrastructure surcharge to be introduced on 17 April 2017 by DP World at its Sydney terminal.
The surcharge will be $21.16 per container and will apply to all full containers received or delivered via road or rail at the Sydney Terminal.
Simon O’Hara, General Manager, RFNSW called on the ACCC’s Rod Sims in a letter to investigate whether DPW Australia misused its substantial market power under s46 of the Competition and Consumer ACT (CCA), engaged in unconscionable conduct under ss 20 or 21 of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), or imposed the infrastructure surcharge in an unfair and discriminatory manner, including under the new small business unfair contract terms law.
“Our members are extremely concerned about DP World’s unilateral decision, which was announced without any consultation with industry,” said O’Hara. “There has been no discussion or input from carriers, just a one-page letter warning carriers that their ongoing access to the Sydney terminal is contingent on them paying up.
“DPWA has failed to justify why it’s imposing the extra levy on carriers, spinning it as an ‘infrastructure surcharge’ We have no understanding as to how they reached this decision, and given they have not consulted with industry, we still do not understand their rationale,” he said.
O’Hara said that the decision was anti-competitive, discriminatory and unfair.
“Carriers will be charged through the One-Stop Vehicle Booking System and RFNSW is calling on DP World to outline specific billing and payment procedures for carriers and how they compare with rail operators at the port. We are concerned that carriers, yet again, will be disadvantaged,” said O’Hara.
“The fact that the Infrastructure Surcharge applies only to laden containers arriving by road and rail is discriminatory and to the detriment of road and rail companies that do not have the ability to change stevedores in response to the price increases.
“That is, the infrastructure surcharge will not apply to the repositioning of empty containers by shipping lines, which contributes substantially to the total container movements conducted by DPWA and the use of the various capital equipment sought to be covered by the Infrastructure Surcharge,” he said.
“DP World demands payment in seven days, and ongoing access to their terminals is conditional on paying on time. Yet, transport operators will only be able to recoup the costs based on their customers’ terms [in] 30 days, or in many cases longer.”
O’Hara said that RFNSW would also take up the surcharge with the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell AO.

DP World announces fee hikes at Sydney, Melbourne ports

DP World Australia (DPWA) is increasing its port access fees at its Sydney and Melbourne facilities, Lloyd’s List Australia (LLA) reports.
In Sydney, transport operators will be charged $21.16 for each full container received or delivered via road or rail, previously there was no fee.
The charge to use DP World’s Melbourne terminal will increase from $3.45 to $32.50 per container.
The new fees are set to take effect on 3 April, though LLA notes that industry bodies such as the Freight and Trade Alliance and the Australian Peak Shippers are challenging the change.
Brian Gillespie, Chief Commercial Officer at DPWA, has released a statement attributing the new fees to increased property rates in Sydney and competition. Through changing the way the Sydney Terminal operated, DPWA had avoided passing on the costs until now, he explained.
“Since 2013, DPWA has incurred material increases in the costs of occupancy of more than 30 per cent, including the cost of council rates, land tax, rent and terminal infrastructure maintenance,” he said.
The cost of the company’s presence in Melbourne has also reportedly risen by more than 60 per cent since 2016.
“Despite DPWA’s continue efforts to offset higher fixed costs through efficiency improvements, these material step changes in costs cannot be offset,” Gillespie added.
“It is important to note that a substantial part of our Melbourne terminal, including our dedicated truck marshalling area, is devoted to servicing road transport, and that the cost of providing this specialist infrastructure has, like Melbourne terminal as a whole, been subject to the cost increases.”
Peter Anderson, CEO of the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) noted that the Infrastructure Surcharge will put further pressure on the country’s transport companies.
“Coming off the back of the up to 125% increase to tolls announced by CityLink operator Transurban, this increase will put additional pressure on operators to remain competitive,” he said.
“Operators will have no choice but to pass on the increase to their customers.”

Tall order for Port Botany

A 15-month-old giraffe recently undertook a journey from Auckland Zoo to Mogo Zoo on the south coast of New South Wales.
The giraffe – Mtundu (Swahili: mischievous one) – arrived at DP World’s Port Botany terminal on the evening of 24 February, Mtundu, on board the Hamburg Sud vessel Hammonia Galacia.
The project to move Mtundu was a carefully orchestrated exercise requiring the cooperation of many parties and port stakeholders.
Having travelled from Auckland Zoo in a specially built enclosure, the giraffe was lifted off the vessel onto a low loader truck waiting on the wharf.
With the assistance of a convoy of transport and logistics professionals, the truck exited the port in the early hours of Saturday morning before hitting the highway, safely delivering Mtundu to his new home at Mogo Zoo, NSW.
A support crew including specialist animal handlers and veterinarian staff accompanied 500kg Mtundu on his journey.
“NSW Ports manages the ports of Port Botany and Port Kembla and is proud to be able to support the movement of goods on behalf of the people and businesses of New South Wales and Australia – (in whatever shape or size they come),” said NSW Ports in a statement.
“As one of the largest container ports in Australia, Port Botany is used to handling cargo from all over the world, with almost 2.3 million containers transiting the facility annually.”
FedEx recently reported that it had successfully delivered a giant panda from the US to China.

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