Container transport operators should start charging slack customers: VTA

By: Jason Whittaker


Victorian Transport Association (VTA) Chief Executive Phil Lovel wants container transport operators to charge their customers to compensate for the

Victorian Transport Association (VTA) Chief Executive Phil Lovel wants container transport operators to charge their customers to compensate for the delays suffered at the Port of Melbourne.

Lovel has listed four recommendations that operators need to introduce to ensure they are not absorbing the costs of having to queue for hours at the port’s facilities when loading and unloading containers.

According to Lovel, a charge should be negotiated on an individual basis between the operator and its customer for delays exceeding one hour.

Initially, however, Lovel says operators need to inform their customers, whether they are importers, exporters, customs brokers or forwarders, of the level of delays occurring at empty container parks and other facilities, and that such delays are unacceptable.

Furthermore, operators are being asked to insist on having customers give them three full working days’ notice in writing that empty containers are ready for collection and de-hire at empty container parks.

Due to the relationship between shipping lines and container parks, the VTA is also encouraging customers to call on shipping lines to address the additional costs underperforming container parks are imposing on the container transport chain.

Shipping lines contract empty container parks to provide services in managing, refurbishing, cleaning and storing empty containers.

These four recommendations, Lovel says, are necessary to compensate operators for the costs of delays because the current situation where some trucks are being held up for several hours cannot be sustained.

"Container transport operators cannot afford to absorb the costs of these excessive delays when normal container cartage rates generally allow for less than one hour for empty container pick up or delivery from container parks," he says.

While noting recent structural changes between shipping lines and empty container park operators may be playing a role, Lovel says it cannot justify having trucks delayed for hours on end.

"These changes seem to be happening with little regard for the negative flow-on effects in the transport chain, including increased truck delays, queuing and congestion," he says.

According to Lovel, there is no reason to suggest why trucks cannot achieve turnaround times of 30 minutes in a well resourced facility.

You can also follow our updates by joining our LinkedIn group or liking us on Facebook