WA, NSW team up to fight port taxes
Head-to-head with ports
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.
MONOPOLY: Operator fees are shrinking profit margins for drivers.