STEVEDORE DPWA has used Melbourne Cup Eve to announce terminal access charge (previously the infrastructure levy) increases at its Fremantle, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane container terminals.

From 1 January, the new fees will be:

  • Fremantle: $45 per container (previously $8.22)
  • Melbourne $98 (previously $85.30)
  • Sydney $91 (previously $63.8)
  • Brisbane $89 (previously $65.15).

The announcement comes just days after Hutchison Port Holdings announced it would be increasing its infrastructure levy at Port Botany.

In a statement, DPWA general manager commercial Sean Barrett talked of challenging market conditions.

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“Our industry is experiencing rising costs in the most dynamic and competitive market conditions in decades,” Mr Barrett said.

“We are tackling this across a range of fronts including delivery of further efficiency and productivity initiatives and in recent months a workforce restructure.

“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.”

Mr Barrett said DPWA would work with operators and provide extended notice of 60 days to help with the transition.

Regarding Fremantle, which has had the sharpest fee hike, Mr Barrett noted investment by the company at its WA terminal.

“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,” he said.

Freight and Trade Alliance director Paul Zalai argued it was time for government agencies to consider intervention.

“Only last week when Hutchison announced their increases at Port Botany, we stated it is obviously a lot easier for stevedores to turn up the infrastructure surcharge ‘money tap’ rather than absorbing costs or passing these on to their commercial client (shipping line),” Mr Zalai said.

“Tomorrow being Melbourne Cup day we meet with the NSW Productivity Commissioner to explain the impacts on industry of this unregulated and anti-competitive charging regime – hopefully we pick a champion.”

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