Infrastructure surcharges bite Aussie operators


Rising surcharges making tendering difficult for local operators, customs brokers body says

Infrastructure surcharges bite Aussie operators
Infrastructure surcharges are making tendering for work difficult for Australian companies, according to the CBFCA.

 

Rising stevedore infrastructure surcharges are making it difficult for domestic operators to tender for work, with future charges being passed down the line, according to at least one industry organisation.

Customs Brokers and Forwarders Council of Australia (CBFCA) commercial officer Scott Carson tells ATN that the charges were rising at a "rapid" pace, increasing the cost of container imports and exports.

Charges have increased from $25.45 per container movement, regardless of size at Patrick’s Sydney Terminal in July last year to $41.10 in March, while the same expense at DP World’s terminal had increased from $21.16 in April last year to $37.65 in January this year, the CBFCA says.

Carson said this was an extra cost for the domestic operator, which included transport companies as well as customs brokers, which they would either need to wear or attempt to recover from further down the supply chain.

"What we are finding is that our members are finding it hard to get any sort of predictable situation, particularly when they are tendering for big import and export contracts they are unable in some cases to budget anything for those costs… which makes it even worse."

Commercial decisions made by the stevedores about introducing new machinery and technology on the wharf did not justify the surcharge, he said, adding that there was a concern that additional costs would be passed on.

"The concern we have is that it appears to be a form of revenue raising that has been charged on the domestic market … it has forced domestic operators to become ‘customers’ of the stevedores," he said.

"So these costs are getting absorbed 100 per cent into the Australian market, whereas if they are to be costs, they should be absorbed within the international market," he said.

Carson makes the comments to ATN after meeting with representatives of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) ahead of the release of its Container Stevedore Monitoring Report later this year.

"We’re hoping to see a much stronger stance taken by the ACCC and then hopefully the respective state governments will support that," he says.

 

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