FREIGHT minister of Victoria Melissa Horne has expressed her disappointment at a recent rise in infrastructure surcharges by stevedore DP World Australia.

Responding to an email from the Freight and Trade Alliance dated 1 April, Minister Horne said she was “disappointed to learn that DP World is to increase its access charges again for importers at the Port of Melbourne for the second time in four months at short notice”.

“The timing of this decision was particularly disappointing, coming at a time when Victoria is experiencing unprecedented pressures and disruptions across the port supply chain as a result of the COVID-19 crisis,” Minister Horne said.

“This is a time when everyone should be pulling together to keep businesses open, people in jobs and keep goods moving to ensure essential services can continue to operate.”

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Ms Horne said that in January 2020, when releasing the summary of their Port Pricing and Access Review, she advised stakeholders the Victorian government was not intending to move towards heavy-handed regulation, but would instead work towards establishing a new Voluntary Port Performance Model for the Port of Melbourne.

“I also said that if voluntary standards didn’t improve pricing transparency, it was open to the Victorian government to consider mandatory standards,” the minister said.

“DP World’s decision runs counter to our commitment to pricing transparency, and points clearly to the need for the new standards we are now developing.”

She said she had asked DP World to explain the rationale for the price increase.

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