Already suffering from a very dry season with more than half the state now drought affected, growers have received another kick in the guts with DP World Australia (DPWA) proposing heavy increases in east coast container port access charges.
Issued by a Notice of Intention, DPWA intends to increase land-side fees from January 1, 2024, significantly impacting on growers' bottom line.
Access to Port Botany will increase by 38.80 per cent with Melbourne (52.52pc) and Brisbane (37.50pc) also receiving significant increases.
Proposed increases of up to 52.52% in east coast container port access charges by DP World Australia (DPWA) are excessive and
Industry body, GrainGrowers said the increases highlight the need for urgent government action.
GrainGrowers general manager, policy and advocacy, Zachary Whale, said the "current light-touch voluntary national guidelines are not working".
"As an export-reliant industry, skyrocketing terminal charges directly impact our global competitiveness," he said.
"The fact that the Terminal Access Charges will only rise by 5pc in Freemantle highlights the value of government ownership and involvement in the operation of this crucial infrastructure.
"Urgent government action is long overdue. It has been nearly 11 months since the Productivity Commission recommended implementing a mandatory industry code, and the ACCC has long highlighted container ports are not adequately regulated."
"This is not just an issue for grain farmers. Higher port costs flowing means higher prices for Australian consumers and it is high time the situation changes."
Mr Whale said a failure to address could inflict long-term damage to all Australians.
Justin Everitt, NSW Farmers grains committee chair was not pleased with the rise in container port access charges either.
"It is disappointing to see the significant price rise for Sydney," he said.
"These price rises add costs to our grain exports and reduce our international competitiveness.
"We understand there are price pressures across the economy, but since farmers are price takers, we're concerned they will ultimately face further business pressure."
A statement said at the start of 2020, DP World Australia made the decision to introduce a reduced access charge fee to assist Australian exporters.
"Since then, Australia has endured a sustained and significant spike in inflation and higher interest rates and these impacts have been felt all the way along supply chains, including the transport and logistics sector," the statement said.
"DP World Australia's business costs continue to rise, including procurement costs for some items rising by as much as 40 percent over the past 12 months, prompting a review of our service charges to re-balance cost recovery.
"Prevailing market conditions have led to a necessary increase to DP World Australia's terminal access charges, to ensure we are able to continue to maintain the high standard of landside service infrastructure required to meet the growing demand of Australia's international trade.
"These charges continue to remain lower than the fees charged by other stevedores.
"DP World Australia is committed to the intentions of the National Voluntary Guidelines, inclusive of the review and notification of landside service charges.
"We are making changes to our processes across jurisdictions to provide industry and government with a consistent approach where possible."
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