THE Western Australia government will increase tonnage charges at Port Hedland by 25% for the upcoming financial year.

The government said the increased tonnage charges at Port Hedland would bring about $195 million to the state’s coffers over the next four years.

A Shipping Australia spokesperson told DCN that the increase is particularly excessive given that the rate of inflation for the March 2021 quarter is 0.6%.

“Shipping Australia is both shocked and profoundly disappointed at the news that there will be an unwarranted 25% increase in charges on shipping from Western Australia,” the spokesperson said.

“The imposition of new charges is particularly unreasonable given that the McGowan administration has recently imposed huge charges (Port Hedland Voluntary Buyback Scheme Charges) on vessels calling at the Pilbara.

“The shipping industry further condemns these horrendous new charges because, as far as we are aware, there has been no consultation with the shipping industry prior to the premier’s announcement on Monday 31 May.”

The spokesperson said the shipping industry is of the view that, given the huge profits being made by the iron ore industry in Western Australia, the McGowan administration could have easily targeted the mining industry for any new revenue-raising measures.

“However, the McGowan administration has – typically – targeted the shipping industry simply because it is an easy target that cannot fight back against these unfair and unjust charges,” the SAL spokesperson said.

Port Hedland handled 45.8 million tonnes of cargo in April. The vast majority of this – 45.1 million tonnes – was iron ore. Prices for iron ore have been skyrocketing in recent weeks, reaching more than US$200 per tonne in recent days.