WA, NSW team up to fight port taxes

Head-to-head with ports

Big Rigs - - NEWS -

ROAD Freight NSW has joined forces with its in­ter­state coun­ter­part, the West­ern Aus­tralian Road Trans­port As­so­ci­a­tion (WARTA) in a re­newed fight against sur­charges im­posed by steve­dores at ports across the coun­try.

RFNSW gen­eral man­ager Si­mon O’Hara met with WARTA Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Cam Dumesny to ob­serve the freight move­ments in and out of the Port Botany ter­mi­nals and col­lect feed­back from car­ri­ers about the im­pact the new levies were hav­ing on their day to day op­er­a­tions.

“In NSW and WA, truck op­er­a­tors, par­tic­u­larly those smaller, fam­ily-run busi­nesses, are hurt­ing,” Mr O’Hara said.

“RFNSW and WARTA have now de­cided to use our col­lec­tive strength in bring­ing the steve­dores to ac­count, for the sake of our mem­bers.

“Again, we make the point that at ports across the coun­try, steve­dores have im­posed these taxes on hard work­ing op­er­a­tors with­out any reg­u­la­tory scru­tiny.

“We are con­cerned about the dan­ger­ous domino ef­fect this has had on in­dus­try.

“Since steve­dores started im­pos­ing these charges, other op­er­a­tors with sig­nif­i­cant sup­ply chain power have also be­gun slug­ging trans­port op­er­a­tors.

“RFNSW and WARTA be­lieve we need an in­de­pen­dent body, ul­ti­mately the ACCC, to be called-in to put the brakes on the steve­dores and start reg­u­lat­ing land­slide port charges.

“We be­lieve the re­cent Fed­eral Court find­ing, which al­lows the ACCC to mon­i­tor and reg­u­late pric­ing at the Port of New­cas­tle, means the ACCC should be in a po­si­tion to re­view the sit­u­a­tion at Aus­tralia’s ports,” he said.

Both as­so­ci­a­tions are call­ing for an in­ves­ti­ga­tion and in­de­pen­dent um­pire to re­view any charges.

While the ACCC has not made spe­cific com­ment on this is­sue, as spokesper­son for the coun­cil pre­vi­ously ad­vised that com­pe­ti­tion was suf­fi­cient.

“There is some de­gree of com­pe­ti­tion be­tween con­tainer steve­dores at the ma­jor ports, with three op­er­a­tors in Mel­bourne, Sydney and Bris­bane,” they said.

“The ACCC would be con­cerned if a busi­ness with mar­ket power uses that power for an anti-com­pet­i­tive pur­pose.” The ACCC re­tains over­sight and reg­u­la­tion of New­cas­tle port charges.

FIGHT TO­GETHER: WARTA Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Cam Dumesny and RFNSW Gen­eral Man­ager Si­mon O"Hara join forces to fight port taxes.

PHOTO: KIRSTIN PAYNE

MO­NOP­OLY: Op­er­a­tor fees are shrink­ing profit mar­gins for driv­ers.

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