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Patrick aligns with stevedore access charging protocols

National guidelines eyed as MUA’s action at its terminals has port users on edge


Patrick Terminals has backed the state and federal green light to stevedores for cementing of an unregulated Australian revenue stream.

Transport ministers have tasked the National Transport Commission (NTC) with formulating a uniform approach in line with the Victorian Voluntary Pricing Protocol (VVPP).

“Patrick Terminals confirms that we are voluntarily increasing the industry notice period for changes to landside fees to 60 days in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane,” Patrick CEO Michael Jovicic says.

“This change will be implemented with immediate effect following feedback from industry about the benefits of a 60 day notice period.

“This will align the notice period for Sydney and Brisbane with the Victorian Voluntary Pricing Protocol.

“The notice period in Fremantle is the subject of a separate arrangement with Fremantle Port Authority and will remain at 30 days at this stage.”

State governments ATN has approached have, steadfastly and with increasing irritation, refused to explain to ATN or the public why they support the development that financially burdens container haulage firms, exporters and consumers of imported goods without consultation or agreement.

Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA) says it is disappointed that the notice period will remain at 30 days in Fremantle given that Patrick has reached a special agreement with the Fremantle Ports Authority on landside fee changes as part of its renegotiated terminal lease.

“CTAA has consistently advocated for a notice period greater than 30 days because many transport operators have contracts with customers that demand at least 30 days’ notice, if not more,” it tells members. 

“Taking account of time lags in preparing information for customers on new fee arrangements, 30 days’ notice from the stevedores is an inadequate lead time.

“In Fremantle, there is also the concern that the agreements on landside fees and likely step changes in those fees over the 10-year life of the terminal leases have been negotiated behind closed doors between the stevedores and the WA Government (through the Fremantle Ports Authority). 

“There is no transparency for those who will be asked to pay those fees – transport operators in the first instance and ultimately importers and exporters.”   

Read about NatRoad’s latest trucking attack on stevedore charging, here

Meanwhile, Patrick has been served with a further protected industrial action (PIA) notification from the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA).

Though the notification is minor in itself, port and trade services entities that continue to deal with a pandemic-roiled container chain and soaring domestic and international costs are concerned at the prospect of still more disruption.

These Brisbane automatic straddle carrier (AutoStrad) operations bans are on:

  • attending for work on days an employee is rostered as “off/avail” commencing from 11pm Friday May 28 and finishing 11pm Sunday May 30
  • working overtime at Fisherman Island (Brisbane) from 11pm Friday May 28 and finishing 11pm Sunday May 30.

But there are a range of other bans in Sydney and Fremantle, the Sydney action also affecting AutoStrad, a technology the union finds objectionable.

“Patrick Terminals continues to proactively work towards a solution with the MUA that is fair and reasonable for all parties,” Patrick tells other affected parties says of the latest Brisbane bas that follow similar ones in place last weekend.

“We are once again disappointed in the MUA’s approach in taking PIA at this stage in the discussions.

“Patrick Terminals will continue to work closely with customers to ensure continuity of the supply chain across all terminals where the MUA has taken PIA.

“Our business is committed to minimising the impact on our customers and our commercial team will proactively work with our customers to minimise any disruptions.”

CTAA notes the moves will likely lead to staffing shortages, causing berthing congestion on the quayside and terminal congestion on the landside.

CTAA also highlights that only DP World Australia and Flinders Ports in Adelaide, where an existing, have sorted out new enterprise agreements (EAs) with their workforces, despite months of negotiations. 

“The possibility of future significant industrial disruption is still very real,” it adds.


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