Industry says it will not absorb greater port costs

By: Graham Gardiner

DP World’s decision to operate on Sunday will cause a spike in transport costs, which the trucking industry argues must

DP World’s decision to operate on Sunday will cause a spike in transport costs, which the trucking industry argues must be passed on in the supply chain.

Chief Executive of the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) Phil Lovel says DP World’s decision to receive, deliver and store freight on Sundays will result in staged movements of containers.

He says exporters work less over the weekend, meaning containers will need to be taken to transport yards to await secondary delivery.

He says this will lead to further staging and added costs, which must be borne by the end user whether they are importers, exporters or freight forwarders.

"Transport operators cannot be expected to absorb any additional costs associated with the new DP World Sunday operations policy," Lovel says.

"The immediate practical outcome of DP World’s Sunday operations policy will be added costs in the landside logistics task downstream from the stevedore’s gate."

DP World decided to implement Sunday trading at the Port of Melbourne from October 1 as part of the three days of availability for imports and exports.

The logic behind the decision was based on an increase in the number of vessel calls serviced at the West Swanson terminal and the congestion caused on weekends by the misalignment of wharf and landside activities.

However, Lovel has raised concerns over the impact the decision will have on transporting empty containers.

He says there will be limited opportunities to de-hire empty containers on the weekends.

To offset this, Lovel wants shipping lines to extend the operating hours of empty container parks they manage to accommodate growing container volumes and Sunday trading.

Lovel says there are number of studies that show parties in the container transport chain need to consider the consequences of their operational practices in line with container trade growth and the pressures of moving toward weekly trade has on the port’s terminal interface.

The boom in container trade has led the VTA to urge transport companies to make greater use of vehicle booking slots.

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