Bailey reiterates unease on stevedore charges

By: Rob McKay

Queensland calls again for national leadership as NTC eyes guidelines task

Bailey reiterates unease on stevedore charges
Mark Bailey


The Queensland government has again registered its concern about stevedore terminal access charge (TAC) and other fee hikes in the wake of Patrick’s latest hikes and the Queensland Trucking Association’s (QTA’s) dismay at their endless rises.

Transport and main roads minister Mark Bailey reveals that there has been consultation with long-term charges critics from Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA), which argues that the extension of charges to longer combinations mean the issue has become a productivity problem.

"We are monitoring the issue of landside stevedore fees in Queensland and have met with transport industry figures to hear their concerns," Bailey tells ATN.

His latest intervention comes in the wake of the Queensland Trucking Association (QTA) critique of the rolling unregulated rises in charges and other costs for the container haulage sector

Read about the QTA’s analysis on port terminal charges, here

"Representatives from my office and department met with the Container Transport Alliance Australia [last] week to talk through some of the issues their members are reporting," Bailey says.

"They’re keen to see a genuine dialogue between transport operators and stevedores about fee increases, and of course we want that too.

"We don’t want to see the competitiveness of international freight compromised by unchecked fee increases, which is why Queensland has sought national leadership on this issue.

"The safe and efficient movement of freight from our ports down through the supply chain is critical for the national economy, so I would like to see more transparency of charges and intend to raise it at our next Infrastructure and Transport Ministers’ Meeting.

"Queensland supported the push to develop voluntary national guidelines for stevedore infrastructure and access charges.

"The National Transport Commission [NTC] is drafting the guidelines now, so we look forward to seeing them and how they will be applied across the industry."

The Transport and Infrastructure Council (TIC) of relevant state and federal ministers tasked the NTC in November with developing voluntary national guidelines for stevedore infrastructure and access charges at the four major container ports.

Though the ministers have failed to publically explain the rationale for accepting the imposition of new revenues on consumers and exporters without consent, the NTC move signals that it is now national policy.

Despite Bailey’s call for national leadership on an issue obtaining in a majority of states, federal transport minister Michael McCormack’s office has made it plain that it regards ports policy as a state concern.

An NTC spokesperson tells ATN it will provide an update on the guidelines project imminently.


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