Truckie rage at Port of Sydney peak pricing

Trucks using Port Botany during peak hours will be charged $160 from next year

June 5, 2009

Trucks using the Sydney Port Corporations Port Botany facility during peak hours will be charged a peak pricing levy of $160 from the start of next year the SPC says.

The levy has been met with fury from the NSW branch of Australian Trucking Association, describing it as a "nail in the tyre" for trucking operators, while the ports body says it will reduce truck congestion at the port.

"I have no doubt these charges will cause some trucking companies to close their doors," ATA NSW manager Jill Lewis says.

"Freight levels are already falling because of the global financial crisis and the imposition of these new fees will make it harder for [trucking] businesses to make ends meet."

The issue has been circling since an Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) review into improving efficiency into the port, and Sydney Ports Corporation Chief Executive Grant Gilfillan made it official today at a meeting with the trucking industry.

Gilfillan says the decision can be backed up by trials at the port which set out to determine the best way to deal with congestion problems.

"SPC’s recent port industry road trial in April was aimed at assessing stevedore and road transport carrier performance," Gilfillan says.

"The trial found that the operations of stevedores and carriers continue to be concentrated during peak periods, adding to the risk of continued congestion at the port across the day.

"The trial revealed there is clearly a need to drive demand away from peak and shoulder periods towards off peak periods."

Michael Moylan, General Manager of Johnstons Transport and NSW ATA’s container group chairman says truckies there was a belief the extra charges would go to cargo owners.

"The industry has been well aware of peak pricing being on the table and we were originally supportive of it because the [NSW] Government said it [peak pricing] would be paid by the beneficial owner," Moylan says.

"The term used from the floor [by truckies in regards to the charges] was a cop out," Moylan says.

Moylan says the charges could cost companies up to $1 million in extra payments per year.

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