Patrick slammed for rail price rise

Sydney Ports hits out at Patrick for increasing rail fees, threatening action against the stevedore

By Rob McKay | August 9, 2010

Sydney Ports Corporation (SPC) has threatened Patrick with adding rail to the Port Botany Landside Improvement Strategy (PBLIS) following the stevedore’s second effort to increase rail window charges.

The charges threaten to undermine the NSW Government’s rail freight target of 40 percent and will increase port related congestion by putting more trucks on the road, SPC CEO Grant Gilfillan claims.

"Patrick has continually acted outside the spirit and intent of PBLIS by failing to fully consult all industry stakeholders in a timely fashion and have tried to introduce changes without warning," Gilfillan says.

"Without notice last Friday, Patrick issued its second pricing proposal which imposes price increases upon industry, with window charges going up by 67 percent."

Patrick’s earlier proposal had been a rise from $15 per container to $42 by August 1.

Now the charge was pitched at $25 by September 1.

Gilfillan says charges for container lifts onto road and rail has been included traditionally in contracts with shipping lines and ultimately cargo owners.

He described the move for an extra charge for rail specifically as "quite extraordinary".

SPC’s submission to NSW Ports Minister Paul McLeay will seek specific mode share targets for the stevedores, setting a maximum cap on rail pricing at the port interface and ensuring there is price equity between rail and road and regulation of key components of the PBLIS rail program.

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