The Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA) says Hutchison Port Australia (HPA) has advised of increases in its landside Terminal Infrastructure Levies at its Brisbane and Sydney Container Terminals.
On March 30, a notice was issued in Brisbane indicating an increase from May 1, and in Sydney a notice was issued online on April 22 from June 1.
The CTAA says it is very concerning that HPA has chosen not to adhere to the voluntary National Guidelines for Landside Stevedore Charges endorsed by all federal and state transport ministers and published by the National Transport Commission (NTC).
“HPA would have known about the existence of the National Guidelines and would have been consulted by the NTC about the protocols, yet they have chosen to ignore them,” Neil Chambers, CTAA Director says.
The alliance says rival stevedore companies, Patrick Terminals and DP World Australia have voluntarily pledged to abide by the National Guidelines and have proven their commitment to the protocols through longer notice periods, and some greater level of dialogue about the reasons for the proposed increases in landside fees.
According to the organisation, the National Guidelines state the following:
- Protocol 1: Stevedore companies that levy charges to access their terminals have voluntarily agreed to adhere to this protocol to enhance the communication, transparency, and predictability of charges
- Protocol 3: Stevedore companies must issue a Notice of Intention (NOI, ‘the notice’) to the department and publish the notice on their website 60 calendar days prior to the proposed date of change of an existing, or the introduction of a new, charge
- Protocol 4: The notice must detail the rationale for the change, in including any relevant supporting information, and excluding any such details deemed to be commercially sensitive
The CTAA says in HPA’s case, it has ignored all three of the agreed voluntary protocols, with notice periods of less than 60 calendar days, and no detailed rationale for the significant percentage increases advised.
It adds that HPA has “delayed the recovery of capital expenditure and other infrastructure costs so far in 2022. However, it has now become necessary to adjust the Infrastructure Levy, which only partially covers the cost of infrastructure expenditure necessary to deliver yard services.”
It says HPA has stated that “it is pertinent to note that Landside Tariffs have remained well below the cost of service delivery for some time, and these also have now come under review due to cost increases to the business.”
The CTAA says these increases now make the Infrastructure Levies charged by HPA in Sydney and Brisbane the highest landside infrastructure fees of any other container terminal in Australia.
It adds that more concerningly, transport operators and their customers are not seeing any landside productivity improvements or offsets for these higher prices.
It notes on Tuesday April 26, Truck Turnaround Times (TTT) at Hutchison’s Sydney Terminal were more than 49 minutes, which is double the latest average TTT at all container terminals in Sydney of 24.2 minutes published in February 2022.
It also notes in Brisbane on Tuesday April 26, HPA’s Terminal published TTT of above 40 minutes, and in recent months TTTs have been recorded at more than 100 minutes.
The alliance says transport operators and their landside customers are now paying higher prices, again with no ability to negotiate the landside fees imposed, with scant rationale provided for the increases, yet are demonstrably copping poor terminal performance.
It says if forwarders, importers, and exporters want to avoid these high landside charges at HPA, as well as allow their transport providers to avoid lengthy truck delays, then it may pay them to consign their ocean freight with shipping lines that do not use HPA for their stevedore services in Sydney or Brisbane.
The organisation is engaging with federal and state governments, and their respective departments about the real disconnect between rising landside fees imposed by the container stevedore companies and stagnant or deteriorating productivity.
Source: MHD Supply Chain