Logistics News

ACCC to keep eye on forwarders as carbon tax ends

Commission basically happy with sector as long as players stick by rules, report shows


Freight forwarders can rest easy on carbon tax issues if they have been up-front over the carbon tax, even if their charges include road haulage, which is not subject to that tax.

This is the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) message to the transport and logistics sector following the release of its second carbon monitoring report.

Freight forwarders do not incur direct carbon tax costs, but do incur an indirect carbon tax cost because transport operators generally pass through their carbon costs to freight forwarders, the report notes.

“Freight forwarders have dealt with these issues in different ways,” it says.

“Some advised the ACCC that they have estimated the total cost of the carbon tax to the business, and apportioned this evenly across each of the relevant services provided irrespective of the mode of transport used to move freight.

“Other entities apply a surcharge to a limited number of services only, such as express and priority services.”

Asked about the lack of discrimination, the authority says it is unconcerned about it as long as such things are made plain to customers.

“The report sets out how the introduction of the carbon tax has led to higher costs for freight forwarders due to the pass through of carbon tax costs incurred by some transport operators,” the ACCC tells ATN.

“The way in which these costs have in turn been passed through differs between entities. Many freight forwarders employ several modes of transport to forward goods in Australia, with some routes using a combination of transport modes (including road freight, air, sea and rail).

“Even on the same route, different types of transport may be used depending on availability and cost associated with each mode of transport at any given time.

“Therefore, the example given of apportioning carbon tax costs across a number of services provided, irrespective of the mode of transport used to move freight, may reflect the complexities outlined above and the desire to provide/receive pricing certainty in the market.

“While it may be suitable for entities to use different methods of passing through carbon tax costs, what is important is that companies do not mislead or deceive others as to the impact or effect of the carbon tax.

“The ACCC will be monitoring these firms to ensure that any increased costs resulting from the carbon tax are removed following the repeal of the carbon tax.”

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