ACCC grants preference for dual-run trucks

Competition watchdog grants interim authorisation allowing stevedores to preference dual-run trucks

By Rob McKay | July 30, 2010

Preference for ‘dual run’ container truck visits to the Port of Fremantle looks increasingly assured after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission granted interim authorisation for the scheme.

National stevedores DP World Australia and Patrick are developing a vehicle booking system to implement the scheme in an effort to increase efficiency and reduce congestion in and around the port precinct through favouring delivery and collection in the same trip.

"Interim authorisation allows the development of the VBS to continue," the ACCC says.

"The development of the VBS is unlikely to be completed before the ACCC issues its final determination.

"The ACCC accepts that the possibility of another container terminal operator commencing operations at the Port of Fremantle during the term of the interim authorisation is unlikely.

"However, the issue of access to the VBS by new entrant container terminal operators will be an important consideration during the ACCC's assessment of the substantive applications for authorisation."

The scheme has broad support from transport industry groups and state and federal government authorities when the ACCC sought comment on the proposed interim go-ahead and that is expected to continue.

However, a submission from Gary Davies to the ACCC on the proposed change highlighted concerns that big transport companies would prosper at the expense of small players and owner-drivers.

"The arrangement advocated in the application will clearly have a significant and detrimental affect on competition in relation to road transport companies serving the container trades in Fremantle," Davies says.

He is critical of the 1-Stop vehicle booking system, saying it is being used "as a mechanism to punish road transport companies that, on occasion, are unable to comply" with the demand for orderly arrival at terminal gates.

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