Trailer Magazine

RFNSW accuses Patrick of “blatant cost-shifting”

  • Posted on Tuesday 13th, June 2017.

Stevedore Patrick has introduces increases to infrastructure surcharges at ports around Australia in what Road Freight NSW (RFNSW) has called a “blow to hard working trucking operators".

The new East Swanson Dock surcharge has increased to $32 per box and Fisherman Islands to $32.55 per box, while the new charge introduced at Sydney is $25.24 per box and $4.76 per box from 10 July.

RFNSW General Manager, Simon O’Hara, described the levy as “blatant cost-shifting”.

“Patrick blames risings terminal costs for this new unilateral charge, but surely they can look at improving their own operational efficiencies, rather than cynically shifting costs on to carriers?”

Patrick, meanwhile, said could “no longer absorb” its growing cost burden at the Port, acknowledging the additional charges “may impact our transport and logistic customers’ working capital requirements”.

The Patrick price hike follows DP World Australia’s “infrastructure surcharge” of $21.16 per container, which was introduced in April.

“When DP World Australia imposed their tax back in April, RFNSW was extremely concerned that it was only a matter of time before other stevedores got in on the act. Unfortunately, our warnings have come true,” said O’Hara.

O’Hara said he believed the tax would probably be used to offset the costs of ongoing privatisation of the terminals.

“There is little doubt this additional tax will continue to financially impact on many smaller, family-owned trucking companies who are already suffering as a result of the DP World Australia levy and other cost pressures, like rate changes to the General Carriers Contract Determination (GCCD, ed.),” he said.

“The DP World Australia tax was introduced, some of our members reported that they stood to lose up to $150,000 per year. We dread to think what this latest charge is going to do to their operating margins.”

O’Hara said RFNSW had sought a meeting with Patrick and will be calling on the NSW Government to stop the new tax being imposed until consultation is undertaken with industry.

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) encouraged freight operators to pass the higher surcharge to remain viable, with CEO, Peter Anderson, saying operators have "no choice". 

“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. 

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