IR criticises Patrick over rail charge

Independent Railways joins the chorus criticising Patrick over rail charge proposal

By Rob McKay | August 13, 2010

The backlash against Patrick Stevedore’s proposed charges increase for handling Port Botany rail containers continued today with Independent Railways (IR) weighing into the debate.

Resistance has so far come from Sydney Ports Corporation (SPC), the NSW Australian Trucking Association and intermodal operator P&O Trans Australia.

IR, which operates 16 regional services and 12 metropolitan services weekly, claims problems which threaten to derail intermodal solutions to growing road congestion around the port resided closer to Patrick than rail.

"We believe regional customers should not have to pay for a stevedore’s operational inefficiencies," IR Group Managing Director Steve Heraghty says.

The operator echoed the SPC’s belief the new rules and charges will have a detrimental effect on regional and metropolitan road movements and will undermine the NSW Government’s bid to get 40 percent of freight on rail.

"We are opposed to Patrick’s proposed new rules and charges because they are inconsistent with and undermine the NSW Government’s Port Botany Landside Improvement Strategy and the work of the Port Botany Rail Team," Heraghty says.

The Port Botany Landside Improvement Strategy (PBLIS) had come about because structural and operational inefficiencies were identified that added unnecessary cost to the rail logistics chain.

"One of the operational inefficiencies is the so-called ‘additional lift’ for handling containers transported by train versus truck, which has been cited by Patrick as a justification for increased charges to rail operators," Heraghty says.

"We support efficient cost recovery but not the recovery of inefficient costs.

"That is the point of the PBLIS and the work of the Port Botany Rail Team chaired by Sydney Ports.

"Inefficient costs need to be removed, not simply passed on through the rail logistics chain.

"The current processes being overseen by Sydney Ports as part of the PBLIS must be allowed to work their way through to a proper industry solution that addresses the whole of the rail logistics chain and is formally authorised by the ACCC on the basis of its public benefit."

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