Paid waiting times on the way

Paid waiting times for trucking operators is due to begin on February 28 at Port Botany

Paid waiting times on the way
Discipline first says Sydney Ports as final PBLIS trial starts
By Rob McKay | February 1, 2011

Increased discipline must come before increased flexibility, Sydney Ports Corporation (SPC) CEO Grant Gilfillan told a briefing of users and interstate observers yesterday.

With country carriers and smaller operators voicing concern that they face a regulatory and financial squeeze due to imminent anti-congestion measures, Gilfillan acknowledged trucking firms and others were in for a difficult few months while pledging to keep and eye on the behaviour of all players.

Sydney's port will enter the Port Botany Landside Improvement Strategy (PBLIS) final industry trial today, with a view to starting a financial penalties regime on February 28, once the SPC is satisfied data collection performs to the required level.

Truck tag registration will close on March 14, with the tags to be installed by carriers.

Emphasising that ever-increasing container traffic meant a more efficient system had to be developed, Gilfillan says cooperation amongst the players was crucial.

"Don't just look at what you need, look at what is good for the industry," he insisted, while noting that the lack of it so far had led to legislation to implement reform.

Regional operators will have a truck marshalling area created in the port precinct but it is unlikely to be operational until closer to the year’s end.

The briefing heard concerns, similar to those raised previously concerning penalties at
the port of Melbourne, from local and long-distance carriers that trucking impediments to arrival on time were often out of carriers’ control, with empty container parks and general Sydney road congestion mentioned.

Another concern was that one cost of an increase in port efficiency was a decrease in efficiency for trucking firms, forcing them to set aside resources solely focused on port trade.

Meanwhile, the SPC assured the trucking sector that reforms did not preclude other negotiations with the stevedores.

Some interjectors from the floor received short shrift later from one port user peak body, the Customs Brokers & Forwarders Council of Australia (CBFCA).

While acknowledging the NSW branch of the Australian Trucking Association as a "driving force of the reform process", CBFCA Freight and Business Operations Manager Paul Zalai accused others of displaying ignorance, obfuscation, personal agendas "or perhaps just very short memories".

Announced by former Ports and Waterways Minister Paul McLeay in April last year, PBLIS will force stevedores to pay a trucking operator $25 for every 15 minute delay, $100 if a slot is cancelled within two hours of the agreed access time or $50 if the slot is cancelled outside the two-hour timeframe.

The scheme was due to be introduced in September last year, and will also slug trucking operators a $50 fee for a late arrival and $100 if trucks do not show up.

The NSW Government says the measures are designed to improve supply chain efficiency and accountability.

Trucking operators have long complained of lengthy waiting times at the port, with reports in July last of delays of up to four hours.

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