Delay fails to mollify container surcharge opponents

Trucking bodies maintain rage despite two week deferral

Delay fails to mollify container surcharge opponents
NSW roads, maritime and freight minister Melinda Pavey with RFNSW general manager Simon O’Hara


Trucking opponents of stevedore DP World Australia’s (DPWA’s) Sydney and Melbourne port ‘infrastructure surcharges’ have refused to be impressed with a two-week deferral of their implementation.

Road Freight New South Wales (RFNSW) and Container Transport Alliance of Australia (CTAA) amongst others have also approached the ACCC and the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) with their complaints, and those federal bodies have confirmed their receipt to ATN.

DPWA says the delay to April 17 came after freight and trade industry feedback "highlighted the impracticalities for transport operators to provide notice to their customers of an increased charge prior to becoming effective".

But that hit stony ground landside.

"They say they are listening to industry, but if that were the case, they would abolish this unilateral tax, not just defer it for a couple of weeks," RFNSW general manager Simon O’Hara.

"RFNSW has lodged our Submission with the ACCC and we look forward to meeting with them as a matter of urgency, on behalf of our members."

O’Hara says RFNSW had also raised concerns about the new levy in a meeting with its new Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey.

The Container Transport Alliance of Australia (CTAA) chimed in, refusing to view the announcement as a concession.

"This doesn't make these proposed Surcharges any less unfair, unjust and unconscionable," it says.

"CTAA is heartened by the approaches we have received from numerous shippers, freight forwarders and transport operators wanting to join our Alliance in opposing these Surcharges.  

"Thanks go to the many companies who have now become CTAA Alliance companies as a result.

"CTAA Alliance companies, together with a growing list of organisations and companies making individual submissions, continue to call on the ACCC to investigate this monopolistic abuse of market power."

Meanwhile, the resistance has gained official attention to its complaints.

"This matter has been brought to our attention," an ASBFEO spokeswoman said. 

"We’re currently gathering further information on the issue and urge small businesses concerned about the impact of the pending surcharge, to contact the ASBFEO office."

The ACCC’s message was curt – it had "received complaints about the conduct of DP World" and was "currently assessing these complaints and will not make any further public statement".


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