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STEVEDORES and industry groups have reacted positively to NSW Ports’ announcement of $120m in rail investment at Port Botany, despite the inclusion of a $3.08/TEU wharfage fee.

The fee applies to full export and import containers.

DP World Australia chief operations officer Max Kruse was among those to welcome the announcement.

“DP World Australia welcomes the investment in additional rail capacity at Port Botany and we will be enhancing our own rail capacity to maximise the benefits for our customers,” Mr Kruse said.

“Access to rail is a key component of the service we offer through our Sydney terminal and greater rail capacity enables greater terminal capacity,” he said.

“DP World Australia has been working with NSW Ports for solutions to grow rail capacity at Port Botany Terminal in line with what has been announced today.”

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Freight and Trade Alliance director Travis Brooks-Garrett welcomed more investment into on-dock rail but “any addition to the international supply chain cost environment needs to be scrutinised”.

“I look forward to learning more about this fee increase from NSW Ports and Transport for NSW,” Mr Brooks-Garrett said.

“We also note from the official notice this morning that NSW Ports are only cost recovering their investment from full containers, even though empty containers will also utilise and benefit from more on-dock rail infrastructure.”

Container Transport Alliance Australia director Neil Chambers described the announcement as positive.

“Cost recovering through a small increase in wharfage seems the right way to go,” Mr Chambers said.

“Importers or exporters who don’t use rail might have concerns they are being asked to subsidise the investment.  However, I think most people would agree investment in rail to attract more freight onto rail must be part of the future.”

Mr Chambers said more freight on rail had the potential to free up the available road VBS slots, allowing more timely access for road import pick-ups and export deliveries.

He said the way NSW Ports handled the investment cost recovery had implications for future on-dock rail investment in Melbourne.

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