RFSNW puts cost impact figure on terminal surcharge

State trucking body claims block on efforts to discuss basis of charge with DP World

RFSNW puts cost impact figure on terminal surcharge
Simon O’Hara says DPWA has refused talks


Container haulage firms servicing Port Botany face losing up to $150,000 a year due to stevedore DP World Australia’s (DPWA’s) ‘infrastructure surcharge’, according to Road Freight New South Wales (RFNSW).

RFNSW general manager Simon O’Hara says concerned RFNSW members say the $21.16 per container levy slugged on trucks entering the Port Botany terminal by DP World would result in significant financial losses for operators already under pressure due to a change in rates in the General Carriers Contract Determination (GCCD).

"Truckies doing it tough will be hit hard by this unfair tax," O’Hara says of the financial analysis RFNSW has collated.

"They’re now bracing themselves for losses of between $50,000 and $150,000 per year.

"This levy will severely compromise carriers’ cash flow, given that DP World demands payments within seven days, yet they’re waiting for up to 30 days, or longer, for their customers to pay them.

"How can they be expected to run a business like that?

"RFNSW is especially concerned about the impact on smaller, family-run trucking companies trying to make ends meet."

RFNSW maintains DPWA has used its market power to unilaterally impose the port tax on truck operators without consultation with industry.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Kate Carnell are investigating those claims and RFNSW and its members urged roads, maritime and freight minister Melinda Pavey to step in. 

The state peak trucking body also questioned DPWA’s rationale for the charge, which is that it is in a "position of facing significant and unavoidable cost increases for the use of the port infrastructure, including the cost of council rates, land tax, rent and terminal infrastructure maintenance".

And RFNSW says its efforts to discuss the reasoning behind the surcharge in any detail with the stevedore have failed.

"There are five inescapable points that can be made in relation to the DPWA Sydney Infrastructure Surcharge," O’Hara says.

"There is no plausible reason or rationale for the Sydney surcharge of $21.16 and DPWA know this. Otherwise they would have invited RFNSW in for a discussion about the real and significant costs for their business and explained their reasoning.

"The loss of Qube Logistics as a lessee for DPWA has made them think twice about their costs and how they recoup those costs.

"In the past, other companies have moved to automation and did not seek to recoup costs from road freight users (our members) for their self-investment.

"The increased costs that DPWA write about in relation to Sydney Ports is a fiction.

"The increase on this front is only CPI – 1.3-1.5 per cent) – an increase that most other businesses have to suffer through and take into account for their day-to-day operations. 

"The surcharge should be levied on the stevedore’s customers – the shipping lines, not the road users," O’Hara says.

RFNSW says it will continue to pursue information on the surcharge.  

A DPWA declined an opportunity to respond.

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