'A kick in the guts for truckies'

Port fees are costing drivers money.
Port fees are costing drivers money. Barry Leddicoat

PEAK body Road Freight NSW (RFNSW) has slammed DP World Australia (DPWA) over plans to hit truck operators with another increase to the existing infrastructure levy at the Port Botany terminal - the second big price rise forced on carriers in less than a year.

From 1 January 2018, DPWA will introduce a surcharge of $37.65 per container received or delivered at the terminal.

This is an increase of $16.49 on the earlier infrastructure tax of $21.16 DPWA imposed on truckies in April this year.

RFNSW General Manager Simon O'Hara described the latest price hike as outrageous.

"Our members are stunned, they've effectively been hit with two big price increases at the port in less than a year," Mr O'Hara said today.

"Once again, the latest price gouge has been cynically blamed on so-called 'increased costs' at the port, but the ACCC has already acknowledged that extra taxes could earn DPWA and Patrick a combined revenue of $70 million, equivalent to a 5 to 6 per cent increase in unit revenues.

The ACCC also noted that 'unit costs for both stevedores remain stable', so from our perspective there is simply no justification for yet another price hike - it's nothing but a greedy cash grab from DPWA.

"It's a kick in the guts for our RFNSW members who are still reeling from the first round of unscrupulous surcharges forced on them by the stevedores.

"We're now concerned that truckies' operational costs will continue to rise and be passed on through the supply chain and eventually on to consumers.

What's worse is the other stevedores will undoubtedly follow DPWA down the slippery slope and impose their increases on port charges. Where will it end?

"We've welcomed the ACCC's statement that the infrastructure taxes raise a number of issues for the port supply chain and we are again urging the ACCC to step-in and stop the stevedores from using their market power to force these ever-increasing charges on to truckies."

Topics:  ports transport

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