A few comments on the DPWA announcement of this week.

I note the remarks as follows:

“The continuation of the rebalancing of revenue recovery from waterside to landside is necessary to adequately account for landside costs, and fundamental to a sustainable future in this challenging market.”

For this please read “In today’s challenging market where we can’t put up our rates to the shipping lines for fear of losing them as a customer we will continue to charge our new found source of revenue for all that it is worth”.

In relation to Fremantle there is the statement

“DPWA has also continued to invest at our Fremantle Terminal with more than $16m in critical infrastructure to keep pace with industry expectations, and handle greater peaks and troughs in cargo arrival patterns.”

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On what precisely was this $16m spent? Unless it was in total spent on improving truck turnaround and not vessel turnaround then it should not be paid for by the road transport industry.

It undoubtedly was spent in the vast majority on improving vessel turnaround so that, once again, existing customers could be retained by keeping their rates static at the expense of others.

Of course it is understood that if they put the rates up to their shipping line clients then eventually someone would have to pay so the net result may well be the same in terms of cost to the public but by getting their additional money from a non-contracted source they remove the risk of losing clients to another stevedore. They are effectively removing any competition from the waterfront.

The question needs to be asked as to when any of the stevedores last imposed any meaningful increase in rates to their shipping company clients.

Tom Pinder,
Partner,
Australian Coastal Shipping

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