Horne gives greater clarity on draft container access policy

VTA hails transparency, fairness and certainty that Victorian draft promises

Horne gives greater clarity on draft container access policy
Melissa Horne


Victorian ports and freight minister Melissa Horne has written to industry players confirming her intention to create a Voluntary Port of Melbourne Performance Model (VPPM) and a draft protocol governing how stevedores levy fees and charges.

Victorian Transport Association (VTA) expects the move to provide "greater transparency, fairness and certainty" when it comes to how infrastructure charges and terminal access fees are levied by stevedores at the Port of Melbourne as a result of its advocacy.

In a letter to the VTA dated May 20, Horne reiterates action short of regulation is warranted, due to "costs are being incurred in the sector as a result of ineffective working relationships between supply chain participants".

Without explanation, Deloitte Access Economics rejected regulation in its Port Pricing and Access Review report, most of which has been kept under wraps.

Horne says the first step for the development of the VPPM is to improve the transparency of prices levied by stevedores for all landside charges.

The model will establish clearer protocols regarding the:

  • notification of price increases and new landside charges
  • process by which government and industry are advised of these increases
  • provision of information justifying new or higher prices  
  • timing of price changes.

The second step will be collection of data

Department of Transport (DoT) to support the development of access indicators for the Port of Melbourne against which performance at the port can be measured.

Read about the Deloitte report recommendations, here 

"Preliminary work is underway within DoT to assess how data from key stakeholders can be transmitted, stored, analysed and reported, taking into consideration stakeholder concerns regarding confidentiality of data and any other issues," Horne says.

She believes an "initial suitable suite of meaningful indicators" would include:

  • container turnaround time
  • average time to service trucks
  • truck on time running
  • on-time truck servicing
  • slot availability
  • cancellations.

Later, rail performance indicators are to be developed.

Horne is seeking data for the DOT to be made available by the end of August after feedback on the draft guidelines, with a 12-month trial to follow from January.

The draft protocol stipulates that:

  • stevedore terminal access charges will only be changed once per annum.
  • stevedores must issue a notice of intention to the Secretary, DoT and Industry 90 days before the proposed date of increase of an existing charge or introduction of a new charge
  • the notice of intention to change prices or introduce a new charge to the DoT must be accompanied by detailed reasons for the increase or introduction of a new charge, including all supporting information or data
  • the notice of intention to change prices or introduce a new charge to Industry must outline in sufficient detail the rationale for the price increase or introduction of a new charge.

"The protocol will provide the transparency, fairness and due process the VTA has long advocated for and will give operators greater time and flexibility to incorporate the impact of cost increases into their own pricing models, and to provide their customers fair and reasonable notice of increases being passed through the supply chain," VTA CEO Peter Anderson says.

"Most importantly, it will require stevedores to provide a rationale for increases to fees and charges, and regulate the frequency that prices can be adjusted, providing certainty to landside operators and an end to the days of excessive price rises at the ports."

Anderson said the VTA has long been a strong and vocal advocate for the introduction of tighter regulatory controls and greater oversight of fees and charges levied against landside freight operators at the Port of Melbourne.


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