THE PORT of Melbourne has withdrawn its rebalancing application to the Victorian Essential Services Commission to change its prescribed service tariffs for wharfage.

In a statement, the ESC welcomed PoM’s withdrawal of its rebalancing application.

“The commission consulted on the port’s application over four weeks from December 2020 until 1 February,” the ESC said.

“During this process, a host of issues were raised by stakeholders which led to a series of discussions with the Port of Melbourne over recent weeks and ultimately, resulted in withdrawal of the application.”

In a letter to the ESC, Port of Melbourne CEO Brendan Bourke wrote: “In order to provide further opportunities for port users and other stakeholders to provide their views, PoM has decided to temporarily withdraw the rebalancing application and defer the proposed tariff adjustment from 1 July 2021 to a later date.”

Mr Bourke continued: “PoM looks forward to ongoing engagement with the ESC to ensure that it is able to continue to make efficient investments in port infrastructure in the long-term interests of port users and Victorian consumers.”

The ESC noted the port’s commitment to providing further opportunities to port users and other stakeholders to contribute to the process.

“Given the ongoing nature of this process we will not be making any further comment at this time,” the commission said.

PoM’s proposed tariff rebalancing only relates to wharfage fees for overseas full containers.

The proposal would have done away with the current wharfage fee for full inward containers and replace it with a wharfage tariff for full inward containers “that is $10 per TEU higher than the current wharfage fee”, which would apply to vessels that exceed the port design vessel of 300 metres length overall by 40 metres beam. The current wharfage fee would continue to apply to full inward containers from vessels smaller than this.

Also the wharfage fee for full outward containers would have been decreased by an estimated $3.77 per TEU from the current export wharfage tariff.