VTA urges rethink on container park opening hours


Trucking lobby says container park operators should extend opening hours over busy Christmas period

VTA urges rethink on container park opening hours
VTA urges rethink on container parks
November 22, 2010

Shipping lines and container park operators should extend their park hours this busy Christmas season, the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) says.

VTA CEO Philip Lovel (pictured) is calling on the Port of Melbourne to take action, fearing congestion and delays at empty parks will be the norm if extended hours are not considered.

"The Port of Melbourne is the largest container port in Australia, yet we’ve got the shortest empty container park hours of any of the major capital city ports in Australia," Lovel says.

He believes the majority of empty container park operators are willing to increase their hours of operation from 6am to 6pm.

"It would deliver welcome benefits to transport operators and downstream parties in the container chain, such as importers and exporters," Lovel says.

"This is an extension of just one hour in the morning and two hours in the afternoon, not an unreasonable request.

"And it would deliver welcome benefits to transport operators and downstream parties in the container chain such as importers and exporters."

Shipping Australia Limited CEO Llew Russell welcomed the call.

"Medium to long term I do think we need more capacity in parks and we accept as the container growth continues we need to make the parks more productive; some have been talking about developing a new container terminal, we very strongly support this and I think there are areas that could be used for increasing park size," Russell says.

"It’s a question of who’s paying the additional costs and who gets the benefit?"

The "mismatch" of operating hours is increasing, leading to "additional landside handling costs", Lovel says.

"On average, it costs road transport companies an extra $55 per container just in additional lifts and extra truck loading and unloading time when empties have to be handled back through transport yards," he adds.

"It’s more than double that figure if you take account of the costs of additional storage and extra truck trips.
"Factor that up to the thousands of empty containers handled through transport yards each year that could have been de-hired if empty park gates were open longer and we are talking millions of dollars per annum in added landside transport costs."

Lovel says the costs are borne by shippers and flow through to consumers and the economy.

"Ultimately, these additional costs are borne by shippers and flow through to consumers and the economy generally."

The VTA in March this year began talks with shipping lines, empty container park operators, customs brokers and freight forwarders to improve container park operations.

Port of Melbourne did not respond to ATN’s calls.


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