Truckers question the true cost of DP World’s ‘crippling’ port tax

Truckers question the true cost of DP World’s ‘crippling’ port tax

RFNSW questions DP World’s Infrastructure Surcharge defence and says stevedore’s ‘unscrupulous’ levy will lead to big losses for small operators.

The peak body representing NSW trucking operators RFNSW has questioned DP World Australia’s (DPWA) defence of their Infrastructure Surcharge.

DPWA has claimed that this Infrastructure Surcharge is necessary as they are in “a position of facing significant and unavoidable cost increases for the use of the port infrastructure, including the cost of council rates, land tax, rent and terminal infrastructure maintenance,” (chief commercial officer, Brian Gillespie, DPWA).

Despite RFNSW’s numerous attempts the chief operating officer of DPWA has declined to discuss the reasoning behind this unprecedented Infrastructure Surcharge in any detail.

“There are five inescapable points that can be made in relation to the DPWA Sydney Infrastructure Surcharge,” RFNSW general manager, Simon O’Hara, said.

“There is no plausible reason or rationale for the Sydney surcharge of $21.16 and DPWA knows this. Otherwise they would have invited RFNSW in for a discussion about the real and significant costs for their business and explained their reasoning.

“The loss of Qube Logistics as a lessee for DPWA has made them think twice about their costs and how they recoup those costs.

“In the past, other companies have moved to automation and did not seek to recoup costs from road freight users (our members) for their self-investment.

“The increased costs that DPWA write about in relation to Sydney Ports is a fiction. The increase on this front is only CPI (1.3-1.5%), an increase that most other businesses have to suffer through and take into account for their day-to-day operations.

“The surcharge should be levied on the stevedore’s customers – the shipping lines, not the road users,” Mr O’Hara said.

RFNSW will continue to pursue information on DPWA’s Infrastructure Surcharge. The implementation of DPWA’s Infrastructure Surcharge has been delayed until 17 April 2017 (Easter Monday).

The levy will cause bankruptcies

DP World’s proposed new port levy will see road carriers losing up to $150,000 per year, according to financial analysis collated by peak industry group, Road Freight NSW (RFNSW).

General manager Simon O’Hara said concerned RFNSW members were warning that the $21.16 per container levy slugged on trucks entering the Port Botany terminal by DP World would result in significant financial losses for operators already under pressure due to a change in rates in the General Carriers Contract Determination (GCCD).

“Truckies doing it tough will be hit hard by this unfair tax,” Mr O’Hara said. “They’re now bracing themselves for losses of between $50,000 to $150,000 per year.

“This levy will severely compromise carriers’ cash flow, given that DP World demands payments within 7 days, yet they’re waiting for up to 30 days, or longer, for their customers to pay them.

“How can they be expected to run a business like that?

“RFNSW is especially concerned about the impact on smaller, family-run trucking companies trying to make ends meet.”

Mr O’Hara said RFNSW maintained DP World had used its market power to unilaterally impose the port tax on truck operators without consultation with industry.

The ACCC and the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell AO, is investigating those claims and RFNSW and its members urged the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey, to step-in and stop the tax for the sake of carriers across the state.


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