VICT probes passing weighing charges straight to shippers

By: Rob McKay, Photography by: Rob McKay

Beset by extra charges, container haulage sector gets ray of light

VICT probes passing weighing charges straight to shippers
CTAA’s Neil Chambers, left, with VICT’s Tony Desira


In the midst of a shower of extra business charges, container haulage firms servicing the Port of Melbourne have had a little good news.

Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT), the nation’s newest, is exploring using the 1-Stop container logistics system to pass on container weighing charges directly to shippers, thereby diverting the burden from road transporters.

The move comes against a backdrop of tightened international Safety Of Lives At Sea (Solas) rules with local effect along with impending Chain of Responsibility (COR) reforms as they relate to container weights and packing.

It also comes as port-related trucking faces freeway toll hikes and DP World Australia’s (DPWA’s) ‘infrastructure surcharge’.

VICT operations manager Tony Desira passed on the news at a VICT supported event organised by the Container Transport Alliance (CTAA).

CTAA director Neil Chambers welcomed the move as a potential efficiency gained and a burden avoided.

"If a shipper is misdeclaring weights, then put the charge directly back to the shipper, don’t put it through the transport operator who then has to pass that on to clients," Chambers says, noting that 1-Stop has clarity on responsibility through pre-receival advices (PRAs).

In further good news for the sector, Desira rejected any notion that it would follow DPWA’s lead on charging haulage operators to recoup expenditure and added costs.

"We have no intent to put an infrastructure charge in place," Desira says.

"Our infrastructure has been well and truly paid for, from our point of view."

He also reported on VICT landside analysis of its otherwise difficult first commercial containership call, that of containership E. R. Long Beach three weeks ago.

VICT’s survey found drivers appreciated the simple automated gate process, considered the terminal the safest they had visited, support for the ‘first in, first out’ policy and valued the service speed.

At least one haulage operator present backed the report in comments to ATN at the sidelines saying a visit of less than an hour had been promised, that had occurred and its drivers were positive about the experience.

On the terminal’s ‘doors rear’ policy on container placement on trailers – said to be a particular challenge to fleet controllers for axle weight compliance – Desira says VICT appreciates the difficulties but it was a sailing condition of the ship.

Though it had reduced its 20-foot container turnaround fee from $150 to $25 and the 40-foot container charge was being reassessed, the task still had to be done.

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