VTA urges flexibility on container issue

VTA makes plea to sectors involved in container storage issue to allow the system to retain flexibility

By Rob McKay | July 23, 2010

The Victorian Transport Association has made a plea to sectors involved in efforts to rationalise empty container storage and transport to allow the system to retain flexibility.

Road transport carriers, empty container park operators, shipping lines and the Port of Melbourne Corporation have formed two groups to tackle impediments and inefficiencies in a bid to ward off increasing congestion and costs around the port.

"Some core issues are contentious and have led to divided opinions," VTA CEO Phil Lovel says.

Top of those issues is the potential introduction of "rigid" time-slotting arrangements for trucks arriving at empty container facilities, "as part of broader information visibility and exchange systems likely to be adopted by container parks and shipping lines in the near future".

Lovel is keen that any solution to "improve park performance, reducing futile truck trips and redirections, and removing inefficiencies in administering container availability and container receipt information" is not as financially and bureaucratically painful as the problem.

The VTA will also continue negotiating with the empty container park operators to lengthen park opening hours and backs their moves to pay for that.

"The VTA urges all container parks to implement an Infrastructure Fee on shipping lines to fund the extension of park operating hours," Lovel says.

"We will be lobbying the Minister for Roads and Ports, Tim Pallas, and the Port of Melbourne Corporation in support of this outcome."

His intervention came after the VTA revealed a division in its membership between those who see the burdens of time-slots as a deal-breaker and those who see the wider benefits of a successful process as crucial.

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