Stevedore Patrick has angered the trucking industry with fee increases across all four of its major Australian container terminals, and has told the industry to expect more in the future.
The port operator told customers on February 12 it would increase fees to account for capital it had invested into its infrastructure, climbing rental and land costs, and ongoing maintenance and operational costs.
“We regret this change to our tariff but we have been left with no alternative in the current challenging economic environment, without sacrificing infrastructure investment and further performance improvements,” chief commercial officer Ashley Dinning told customers.
From March 12, trucks visiting Patrick’s Sydney terminal will be charged $41.10 per container, up from the $25.45 rate introduced last July.
In Fremantle, rates will increase from $4.76 to $7.50 per box, while in Brisbane the rate will rise from $32.55 to $38.25.
And in Melbourne, Patrick will lift rates from $32.00 to $47.50 per container.
The new prices are comparative with those imposed by Patrick’s major competitor at all four sites, DP World, which recently lifted rates across its terminals.
DP World now charges $37.65 at Sydney (less than Patrick), $8.22 at Fremantle (more), $38.75 at Brisbane (more) and $49.20 at Melbourne (more).
When it raised rates at the start of 2018, DP World cited “one of the most difficult markets in decades, arising from over-capacity in the local stevedoring market, larger ships and consolidation of shipping line, as well as increased costs”.
Understandably unhappy about the recent price hikes is the trucking industry.
After labelling DP World’s price hikes “a kick in the guts for truckies,” industry body Road Freight NSW told AFR this week Patrick’s move was “massive,” and came with “little justification”.
“No wonder our members are so angry,” the lobby was quoted as saying.