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Oz port operators benefit at expense of truckers, regulator reveals

AUSTRALIAN truckers are miffed to learn that container terminals have benefited at the expense of truckers, reports American Shipper

27 November 2019 - 19:00

AUSTRALIAN truckers are miffed to learn that container terminals have benefited at the expense of truckers, reports American Shipper.

At least that's how some see it, after reading a conclusion made by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC.)



'Higher infrastructure charges helped to drive growth in unit revenues for the stevedores for the first time since 2011-12,' is how the ACCC put it.



And those 'higher infrastructure charges' are fees charged by container terminal operators on trucks to access their facilities. If trucking companies don't pay the fees their trucks cannot enter to pick up or drop off containers.



The ACCC has concluded that the stevedoring industry has generated A$166.6 million (US$122.9 million) in revenues from infrastructure charges in the 2018-2019 financial year (which runs from July to June in Australia), an increase of 63 per cent compared to the previous financial year.



'Infrastructure charges now account for 12.2 per cent of stevedores' revenues,' the ACCC said, adding that 'stevedores have sought to continue to rebalance their cost recovery away from quayside users (shipping lines) and towards land transport operators through significant increases in infrastructure charges.'



The ACCC said 'continued increases in infrastructure charges are of concern and worthy of consideration by policy makers,' but does not have a legal mandate to intervene in pricing disputes of this nature.



But the ACCC warned that if terminal operators decided to favour their affiliated land transport or intermediary logistics businesses by waiving or reducing fees, action could result.



'The ACCC could take enforcement action should such conduct be detected and it occurs with the purpose or effect of substantially lessening competition in a market,' the ACCC warned.


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