Port storage fees to rise for trucking

Trucking costs set to increase after announcement of an end to storage exemption fees at Port Botany

October 22, 2009

Stevedores at Port Botany will soon scrap storage fee exemptions, leading to claims trucking operators and the community will be significantly affected.

The New South Wales branch of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA NSW) has slammed the decision of Patrick and DP World to include weekends when calculating storage fees.

The decision ends the practice of excluding weekends as part of the three days of free storage before charging begins.

Patrick will make the shift this weekend, while DP World will abolish the exemption on November 1.

Johnston’s Transport General Manager Mike Moylan says congestion will increase and the costs of goods passing through the port will rise, forcing operators to pass on costs to consumers.

"Usually, trucks carry empty containers to the port before picking up full ones, but under these changes operators will be forced to make multiple trips to the port, as the nearby empty container parks aren’t open on Sunday," he says.

"That means that trucks that use the facilities on Sunday will add further pressure to the already stretched road network around the port when the empty container facilities are open.

"Multiple trips also equal higher costs, which will then have to be passed onto consumers, meaning every family will have to pay more for the extra trips we have to make. Storage charges at the port are currently around $160 for the first day."

Moylan, who is also the Chairman of ATA NSW Container Group claims there was no consultation with the trucking industry.

ATA NSW Manager Jill Lewis says the end of the exemption is part of the port’s desire to shift to 24-hour operations.

Lewis says the group will oppose the changes, and has used the situation to warn against the introduction of a 24/7 system.

She claims the port is not running effectively enough as a five-day operation and predicts extending the times will only cause more problems.

"The plan is to move to 24/7 operation at the port, but the industry is saying we should get 24/5 operation working efficiently before looking at extending the hours," Lewis says.

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