THE Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has called for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to step in to regulate landside port charges, after Patrick and DP World Australia raised their infrastructure surcharges earlier this year.
ATA chief executive Ben Maguire said the charge increases cannot be avoided by trucking operators and they have not been subject to detailed regulatory scrutiny.
“They simply build additional costs into Australia’s supply chains,” he said. DP World Australia increased its port access fees in Melbourne and Sydney back in March, and Patrick increased its charges at Port Botany and Fremantle in June.
Mr Maguire said the charge increase could not be avoided by trucking operators.
“They have not been subject to detailed regulatory scrutiny,” he said.
“To fix these problems, heavy vehicle tolls and landside port charges should be set by the road price regulator, which should ultimately be the ACCC or a dedicated body established under its Act.”
However, Ports Australia CEO Michael Gallacher said any increase to port charges are clearly communicated to operators at the port well in advance to allow them to manage their business accordingly and with a clear and justifiable rationale.
“The ACCC look at national issues of competition,” he said.
“Their latest report found that the stevedoring industry continued to increase competition and deliver benefits to the wider Australian community.”