LRTA hits out over rate increase

LRTA slams CBH Group's decision to increase freight rates between Metro Grain Centre to Kwinana

By Ruza Zivkusic | November 15, 2010

Livestock and Rural Transport Association (LRTA) President Grant Robins has slammed the CBH Group’s decision to increase freight rates between Metro Grain Centre to Kwinana, saying the hike puts unnecessary pressure on truckies.

The double increase up from $3.50 per tonne at the West Australian site means that carriers will have to go to Kwinana empty and return with a load of fertilisers charged at the full rate, Robins says.

"The Forrestfield centre was built as an alternative and there was never supposed to be a freight charge put on between Kwinana and the port," he says.

"Last year was $3.50 and now it’s $7, it becomes unviable now.

"There will be more grain stored in the country areas now which has taken a lot of flexibilities about it for farmers to capitalise on the best freight route.

"It’s very disappointing, a lot of people have started structuring their business around building that sort of work, especially on a year like this it would have been very beneficial for people to capitalise on the freight."

CBH Group Operations General Manager Colin Tutt says the decision to adjust the freight rate was a "direct reflection" of the costs charged to the group by their rail provider.

"This is part of the transition CBH is making in growers’ interests to provide transparent freight rates- rates which reflect the true cost of using rail to cart grain on certain routes," Tutt says.

"This ensures that the users of this pathway to port pay for the cost of this freight service, unlike previous years where it has been distributed and absorbed as a cost by all growers across the state.

"This is a move that growers have been asking us for so that they are paying for only the freight service they use. It should be noted that rail, at $7 per tonne, is cheaper than any other alternative road option to move grain from MGC to Kwinana."

He says the company is happy to engage with LRTA if it believes it can provide a cheaper option to move grain when transportation to Kwinana port is required by CBH.

CBH has opened up the Kwinana Terminal for certified grower receivals at no freight charge, Tutt adds.

"Certified grower receivals at the Kwinana Terminal are not limited to a 24-hour notice period, if growers have specific requests for deliveries, every effort will be made to accommodate them so that they can plan these to fit with fertiliser back loading.

"It is important to not that this is only one pathway of the entire rail freight network and the CBH Group has kept the overall freight rate increase to less than five percent this season despite the state facing its second smallest harvest in 20 years."

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