Victoria’s farmers will pay more to have their products shipped through the PoM, after DPWA announced a 900 per cent increase in its container infrastructure surcharge.
Mr Jochinke said the VFF was obviously concerned about any costs, which might affect producers, especially if they didn’t appear to be getting any benefit from them.
“We understand the average price of the cost of containers at other ports is higher, but that shouldn’t have been a justification for increasing the surcharge in Melbourne,” Mr Jochinke said.
“We are concerned, and disappointed, if that cost gets passed back, directly to the agricultural sector.
“We’d also like to see more evidence of why it’s being increased.”
DPWA chief commercial officer Brian Gillespie said the infrastructure surcharge, levied on containers delivered by both road and rail to its West Swanson terminal, would jump from $3.45 to $32.50 from April 3.
Mr Jochinke said infrastructure upgrades should alleviate supply chain costs and put downwards pressure on them. “We want to hear why and how they are doing this and how they are going to benefit users. We want them to be able to justify such an increase and talk to the agricultural sector, about it.”
A spokesman for Victorian Ports Minister Luke Donnellan said price increases at the PoM were a matter for DPWA and its individual customers.
The government understood a number of DPWA customers have written to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA) director Neil Chambers said the surcharges were rejected by the landside logistics sector, and CTAA Alliance companies wanted the issue taken up with the ACCC, and the Victorian government.
“All businesses face operational and infrastructure cost increases and companies resolve to deal with these cost pressures through efficiency improvements and/or renegotiating prices with their customers.”
He said DPWA should be negotiating cost increases with the shipping lines.
“DPWA also claims the need to implement these surcharges because of investment in critical infrastructure to keep pace with expected growth, and greater peaks and troughs in cargo arrival patterns.
“Surely that is a cost to build into their rates charged to shipping lines to service larger ships adequately?” Mr Chambers said.