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Access charges campaign eyes NSW productivity probe

State inquiry opens another front on stevedore charges as new grouping is backed


The new national grouping of trucking industry and trade services bodies aiming to deflect relentless stevedore increases in terminal access charges has gained solid backing from a member of an existing alliance.

Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA), which, with the Australian Peak Shippers Association (APSA) and Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA) has long opposed the charges, sees it as “a good thing”.

FTA director and co-founder Paul Zalai views the new effort as bolstering the one he is involved with and the FTA supported its formation as that got underway.

“The more people who are pushing a consistent line from the different sectors of industry can only be a positive thing,” Zalai tells ATN.

Read about the new grouping of stevedore access charges opponents, here

The backing comes as the FTA is setting its sights on the New South Wales Commissioner for Productivity’s new reform inquiry that aims to shift impediments to the state’s economic performance and in the month when stevedore DP World Australia (DPWA) upped its access fee from $63.80 to $91 per container and a range of fees by lesser amounts.

NSW productivity commissioner Peter Achterstraat this month officially launched the Kickstarting the Productivity Conversation discussion paper and opened consultations running between October 9 and November 27.

The discussion paper identifies six priority areas:

  • building human capital for a modern and evolving economy
  • reliable, sustainable and productive use of water and energy
  • smart ways to get more from infrastructure
  • modernising the tax system to help the economy grow
  • planning for the housing wanted and the jobs needed
  • forward looking regulation to support competition and innovation.

While the targets are economy-wide and the discussion paper is more focused on effective infrastructure provision that operational issues at Port Botany, the FTA tells members it gained help from state transport and roads minister Andrew Constance in meeting Achterstraat and his advisors.

Constance had joined a meeting with FTA/APSA members in August that included representatives of high-profile importers and exporters, such as Amazon, Fletcher International Exports (FIE), the Australian Cotton Shippers Association, Manildra Group and Casella Family Brands, along with the industry groups including Road Freight NSW and the Australian Meat Industry Council. 

It is understood thelegislative framework on port related pricing and the impacts of infrastructure surcharges on Australian exporters were points of discussion.

“Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA) and the Australian Peak Shippers Association (APSA) will be supporting the NSW Productivity Commissioner on agreed action items including collation of commercial impacts generated by Infrastructure surcharges,” the bodies say.

Meanwhile, the FTA/APSA/CTAA grouping has recently sought an update from Victorian transport minister Melissa Horne and Deloitte for an update on that state’s Port Pricing and Access Review.


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