CTAA says toll hikes must be passed on

Significant lack of confidence that Melbourne industry will get what it’s paying for

CTAA says toll hikes must be passed on
Neil Chambers says transport must pass on toll hikes


The freight transport industry added another voice to criticism on the burden of freeway toll hikes on trucks.

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has made its feelings known and now Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA) has joined in, insisting that extra toll and associated administrative costs be passed along the container supply chain.

This should be done transparently through "an identified and separate ‘toll surcharge’ on invoices" to container trucking customers.

From April 1 onwards, container transporters delivering Victoria’s import and export freight face up to a 125 per cent increase on toll fees when travelling between the Port of Melbourne and Dandenong.  Other increases impact on freight moving to and from the north on the Tullamarine Freeway.

Since the inception of motorway tolls in Melbourne, the overwhelming majority of container transport companies have absorbed tolls, CTAA director Neil Chambers notes.

"The significant increase in truck tolls discriminates against the freight transport industry and will have negative flow on effects to the costs of commercial transport and the economy," he says. 

"Ultimately, it will be the Victorian consumers who pay for what amounts to a ‘tax on freight’."

The CTAA calculates that a truck leaving the Port of Melbourne on a return day trip to Dandenong will face tolls of close to $60. 

"With a significant portion of Victoria’s 2 million containers either going to and from the south eastern suburbs, this amounts to a massive impost on the container supply chain – one that cannot be absorbed by the industry."

Container transport operators using CityLink, Tullamarine Freeway and the Monash Freeway to and from the Port of Melbourne will face the hikes due to the Citylink Tullamarine Widening (CTW) Project.

Heavy commercial vehicles will pay three-times the car toll during the day and two-times the car toll in the evening.

"With the curfews and restrictions on traditional freight routes to and from the Port, container transport operators have no alternative but to use tolled motorways," Chambers says.

"Heavy vehicle operators are highly skeptical that the CTW project will provide any benefit to them, yet they are being told to pay for it. 

"Without additional lanes on the Monash to and from Dandenong, will travel times improve enough to offset the massive toll increases?"

But despite Coynes Transport general manager Steve Dean going public in The Age about the matter, the newspaper reports Victorian premier Daniel Andrews as insisting efficiency would rise and the cost spread.

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