ATA backs Roozendaal on port intervention

Trucking lobby backs the decision of NSW Ports and Waterways Minister Eric Roozendaal to stop Patrick from raising rail fees

ATA backs Roozendaal on port intervention
ATA backs Roozendaal on port intervention
September 21, 2010

NSW Ports and Waterways Minister Eric Roozendaal made the right decision in stopping Patrick from increasing rail fees at Port Botany, the trucking lobby claims.

The NSW branch of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA NSW) has supported Roozendaal’s decision to regulate the rail freight price after Patrick tried to increase rail processing fees from $15 to $25 per container.

ATA NSW manager Jill Lewis says the rise would have reduced rail’s efficiency.

"At the same time, Patrick’s cost increases would have been passed onto consumers, meaning a price rise in every good that passes through the port," Lewis says.

Patrick has opposed Roozendaal’s decision, saying it will not improve efficiency at the port. It also expects to lose $3 million annually because it will not be able to recoup its costs.

Patrick Container Ports General Manager Paul Garaty says the stevedore proposed increasing the fees to improve the running of rail at the port because current data shows less than one in ten trains arrive at the port on time. According to Patrick, more than one in five trains do not turn up at all.

"As a commercial entity, Patrick simply cannot continue to subsidise this inefficient and inconsistent rail performance at its Port Botany terminal," he says.

He says the company offered to be subjected to an independent review on pricing and to work cooperatively with government to improve rail efficiency at the port.

"This offer has been rejected by the government."

Roozendaal claims the increase in fees will lead to more trucks on the road.

"There is no justification for a new rail charge, it will force more trucks onto our roads," he says.

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