TERMINAL ACCESS CHARGES - supplementary submission to the Productivity Commission

Thursday, April 21, 2022
Freight &Trade Alliance (FTA) and the Australian Peak Shippers Association (APSA) have provided a supplementary submission to the Productivity Commission calling for regulation to end the scourge of unfair Terminal Access Charges

On 31 March 2022 the National Transport Commission (NTC) announced the national voluntary guidelines for applying landside stevedore infrastructure and access charges at Australia's container ports - refer to FTA / APSA commentary titled INCOMPETENT GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO CONTAINER STEVEDORE CHARGES FUELS INFLATIONARY PRESSURES
Despite witnessing the failings of the Voluntary Port Performance Model (VPPM), the NTC and Australia's transport and infrastructure ministers have embraced the hopelessly flawed model introduced by the Victorian Government setting a new standard for adoption by state governments nationally.

Escalation of such voluntary performance arrangements also poses the significant risk of giving tacit approval to this unwarranted cost recovery method on third parties. This matter is not confined to stevedores.

Empty container parks (and now LCL Depots) are also continuing to significantly increase their charges on transport operators who in turn are understandably adding administration fees that are cascading down the supply chain - refer to FTA/APSA commentary CONSEQUENCES OF LCL TIME SLOT BOOKINGS

On top of this we have severe capacity constraints, record high freight rates, container detention penalties, depot congestion and shipping line surcharges. Meanwhile our government representatives are left scratching their heads unable to answer why supply chain costs continue to spiral out of control fuelling inflationary pressures across our economy.


The FTA/APSA supplementary submission to the Productivity Commission amends the original recommendation 4 (calling for a broader scope of the NTC review) to now reads as follows: 

REVISION TO RECOMMENDATION 4 (regulation of Terminal Access Charges) – introduction of an appropriate regulatory framework to force stevedores (and empty container parks) to cost recover directly against their commercial client (shipping line) rather than via third party transport operators


Paul Zalai - Director FTA | Secretariat APSA | Director GSF