Road Freight NSW (RFNSW) has joined forces with its interstate counterpart, the Western Australian Road Transport Association (WARTA), in a renewed fight against landside surcharges imposed by stevedores at ports across the country.
RFNSW General Manager, Simon O’Hara, met with WARTA Executive Officer Cam Dumesny on 29 August, observing freight movements and out of the Port Botany terminals and getting feedback from carriers about the impact the new levies were having on their day to day operations.
“In New South Wales and Western Australia, truck operators, particularly those smaller, family-run businesses, are hurting,” said Mr. O’Hara.
“RFNSW and WARTA have now decided to use our collective strength in bringing the stevedores to account, for the sake of our members.
He noted that stevedores imposed the “unjustified” taxes on “hardworking truck operators” without any regulatory scrutiny.
“We are concerned about the dangerous domino effect this has had on industry,” Mr. O’Hara added. “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 (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission), to be called in to put the brakes on the stevedores and start regulating landside 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.
“Accordingly, RFNSW and WARTA will make a joint submission to the ACCC, again calling for an investigation and independent umpire to review any financial charges.”