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Terminal surcharge opponents eye options

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Terminal handling charges and a port practices inquiry being considered

Terminal surcharge opponents eye options
Container terminal access charges are in the spotlight again

Opponents of the major stevedores’ ‘infrastructure surcharges’ continue to look at options to shift the financial burden they feel have unfairly been lumped on them.

Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA) has canvassed Terminal Handling Charges (THCs) as a possible option.

"CTAA believes that shippers (importers / exporters) need to take up the commercial fight to the shipping lines and seek reductions in THCs to account for the cost shifting that is occurring," it says.

"For the container transport operators, it means more cash flow worries as they pay the Infrastructure Surcharges to the stevedores well ahead of being able to commercially recoup the costs from their customers."

For their part, local cargo interests have raised the prospect of some sort of public inquiry into port practices in Australia.

In a comment piece for local publication Daily Cargo News, Travis Brooks-Garrett who is a Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA) director and on the secretariat at the Australian Peak Shippers Association (APSA) poses the question after relating similar issues in the US.

The piece covers the reasons behind the formation of the formation of the Coalition for Fair Port Practices (CFPP), a group of 25 retailers manufacturers trucking interests, others in the transport space and business groups that seeks a shield against what they view as unfair charges by container shipping lines and terminal operators.

"Matters had come to a head in the aftermath of the August 2016 bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping, when legal, commercial and operational headaches stranded containers at sea and on land for many months," Brooks-Garrett writes.

"The Coalition very reasonably argued that while the charges were intended to speed up the turnaround of cargo and equipment, lines and terminals, the incentive was weakened if they could, in effect, profit from penalties imposed on parties ‘who have no influence over the operations and conditions that prevent’ the prompt collection of cargo and return of equipment."

And he cites other examples where penalties had to be paid when matters were outside the payer’s control.

Meanwhile, CTAA is holding a February 22 Brisbane breakfast seminar on transport logistics contractor management, labour hire and chain of responsibility (COR), the details of which can be found here.

Source of article click here : ATN

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