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Sideloader charge to be re-examined over impact

Stevedore Patrick will "defer" a proposed $100 plus GST Port Botany charge for handling sideloaders.

By Rob McKay | October 22, 2012

Stevedore Patrick will “defer” a proposed $100 plus GST Port Botany charge for handling sideloaders.

The decision on its introduction had been “made on the understanding that the industry supported the proposed fee”, according to Patrick’s Port Botany Terminal Manager, Ben Wicks, in a letter to container carriers.

“Our notification has led to concerns being raised by the industry,” Wicks continues.

“These concerns largely relate to the possible impact of the levy on smaller businesses that only operate side loaders.”

The stevedoring firm says it is working with Sydney Ports Corporation and the trucking industry to “address the concerns raised”.

The New South Wales branch of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA NSW) objected to the charge when Patrick proposed it late last month.

ATA NSW container section chairman Mike Moylan told ATN at the time that, though the safety issue was understood, there had been no consultation on the amount of any charge and the one proposed was “totally excessive”.

Patrick had said a position had to filled “24/7 to assist in the correct loading and communication to load/unload side loaders”.

ATA NSW had suggested that sideloader trips be taken out of the Port Botany Landside Improvement Strategy (PBLIS) truck turnaround time (TTT) provisions or that or that TTTs be extended, thereby avoiding the triggering of PBLIS-sourced cost burdens.

Moylan says this was a third option when only two had been on the table – the charge as it was or banning sideloaders completely.

New freight forwarding lobby Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA) says that such a fee, combined with limited slot availability, would increase the incidence of double handling as carriers were forced to off-peak deliveries and holding containers overnight.

“The Patrick sideloader fee would significantly increase the volume of transport movements with a further reduction in direct wharf to importer deliveries,” FTA Director Paul Zalai says.

While larger operators could take the move in their stride due to having more resources, the FTA had “highlighted the potential impact of the ongoing commercial viability of smaller transport operators and the downstream implications for the import sector”.

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