Surcharge opponents welcome ACCC meeting

Meeting sheds light on commission’s powers and reveals its understanding of the DP World issue

Surcharge opponents welcome ACCC meeting
The ACCC has heard surcharge complaints first-hand


Container trucking and trade services bodies have had a combined meeting with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to discuss DP World Australia’s ‘infrastructure surcharge’.

The meeting, energetically sought and the latest development in what is shaping up as something of a saga, saw Road Freight NSW, the Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA), the Customs Brokers and Forwarders Council of Australia (CBFCA) and the Freight Trade Alliance (FTA) put their case against shouldering the impost.

"This Infrastructure Surcharge is discriminatory and aimed directly at road and rail companies that do not have the ability to change stevedores in response to the price increases," RFNSW general manager Simon O’Hara says.

"DPWA has used its substantial market power and influence to impose these charges unilaterally, and has not consulted or negotiated with those affected.  

"DPWA has not discussed the calculation of the charges nor sought to differentiate between the shipping-line specific, general-business or non-customer user specific costs.

"In such circumstances, seeking to recover costs unrelated to the services offered to the road transport operators, who are weaker than DPWA, because the shipping lines, who are stronger than DPWA, will not negotiate on them may well be unconscionable."

The CTAA says the meeting "gave industry a clear understanding of the framework under which the ACCC operates, particularly their legal boundaries".

"The ACCC made clear their appreciation of the seriousness of the issue, its urgency and the impact on container supply chain dynamics," it tells members.

"The ACCC invited participants to provide additional information to assist them in their considerations."  

"CTAA will be consulting with Alliance companies over the next few days to gather further information."

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO), Kate Carnell, is also seeking additional information to assist her office in investigating the impact, particularly on smaller family businesses.

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