Plans to develop a second container port in the State of Victoria have received a major boost with confirmation that funding for key preliminary work1 will be provided by the Victorian government.
Port of Hastings
While the total cost of the Port of Hastings development project is estimated to cost several billion dollars, the government has committed $110 million over the next four years to finance a number of essential preliminary project aspects, including transportation planning, design work, and the cost of satisfying the environmental approvals process.
The ambitious plans for the Port of Hastings will eventually see the completion of a container port with a capacity of up to 9 million containers, which would represent twice the current capacity of the Port of Melbourne though Melbourne itself is undergoing a $1.6 billion expansion project.
Announcing the funding, Victorian Premier Denis Napthine2 stated that container trade in Victoria was expected to quadruple by 2035 making the development of Port of Hastings a vital move in the economic future of the state.
Decisive action is being taken to build a second Victorian container port and ensure this state remains the freight and logistics capital of Australia, he said.
Port of Melbourne
Melbourne s own container trade was worth more than $82 billion last year, and with growth of between 5% and 6% annually, the need to expand the capacity of the city and state s container facilities has become acute.
Victoria Ports Minister David Hodgett said the multi-billion dollar development was an essential part of meeting the trade demands of the future.
Without investing to meet future demand, the State will reach capacity by the mid 2020s, even with the benefit of current expansion projects, Mr Hodgett said.
The Port of Hastings is a critical project for Victoria and the Napthine Government is getting on with delivering the vital infrastructure our State needs.
The State Government, which has also confirmed it will seek private investment to help fund the remaining stages of the project, stated that the announced funding package will finance:
- completion of preferred scope
- design work
- transport connection planning
- preliminary work to support environmental approvals processes
- business case development
- procurement and delivery strategies
The need for more significant port facilities at Hastings was foreseen almost 60 years ago, when the Bolte Government of the 1960s set aside a total of 4,000 hectares of land to facilitate future port expansion, and some of this land will now be utilized.
With this land and Hastings status as a naturally deep port, there is no doubt that this is the best option for development to meet our growing freight needs, Premier Napthine said.
The trucking industry wants to stay protected from Australia s carbon price legislation beyond 2014.
Under current plans, fuel used by trucks on Australia s roads is not subject to the carbon price until middle of next year.
Australian Trucking Association chairman David Simon has said the planned reduction of about seven cents a litre amounts to a 27 per cent increase in the fuel impost.
It would cost the industry more than half a billion dollars in the first year, he told the National Press Club in the national capital, Canberra.
It would be a massive shock for many trucking businesses, and they would not be able to respond.
Mr Simon said neither of the major assumptions behind the carbon price, that businesses would reduce energy use or switch to renewables and that they would increase prices to pass on the cost, fitted the reality of the trucking industry.
He asked the government to make an election commitment not to extend the carbon price to trucking.
Instead, he says it should focus on developing a road funding and planning system that lets the industry use more productive, fuel-efficient vehicles.
That would include allowing B-triples, prime movers with three trailers, access to more roads.
However Mr Simon praised the government and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese for good consultation with industry on regulatory changes.
The move came four days before first annive rsary of Salala check post attack.
According to officials, three shipping and freight forwarding companies, which responsible for handling the Nato cargo, owe a total sum of Rs375.5 million. DESIGN: FAIZAN DAWOOD
In a sign that Pakistan-US fissures are on the mend, the government has waived half of the demurrage charges on Nato containers stranded on Pakistani sea ports due to blockage of the land route.
The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet s decision to write off Rs187.8 million demurrage and storage charges was taken just four days before the first anniversary of the attack on the Salala check post by US troops.
According to officials, three shipping and freight forwarding companies, namely International Logistics and Trading, Security Packers and Customs Consultants and Advisers, responsible for handling the Nato cargo, owe a total sum of Rs375.5 million.
An official of the ports and shipping ministry, who moved the summary to the ECC, said that these companies had been hired by Nato for handling the cargo, including the containers that remained stranded from the end of November 2011 to July 2012.
The move has irked some in the finance ministry, an official said, noting that the ministry had opposed the proposal to write off the demurrage charges. The Karachi Port Trust (KPT) cannot waive more than Rs5 million in charges, another government official pointed out.
In its criticism, the Economic Affairs Division argues that these companies should take up the claims with the Nato authorities instead of seeking a waiver.
The ECC did not deliberate over the issue and the decisions on three separate summaries of the ministry of ports and shipping were taken in haste. Both the divisions had given their dissenting views on the summary before it was tabled in the ECC meeting, officials added.
The emergency ECC meeting, called by the Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh concluded business without adequate deliberation or debate, the official said.
Nato supplies were halted due to tensions between Washington and Islamabad in the aftermath of the airstrike on Salalah check post that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers including two officers on November 261, 2011.
As a consequence, Pakistan began blocking Nato supplies. But after months of negotiations to reopen Nato supply the government tagged deliveries to Afghanistan at $5,500 per container.
US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta termed the demand a price gouge in May this year. However, relations between Washington and Islamabad improved following an apology by the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the supplies reopened in July this year without any additional charges.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 30th, 2012.
The government s HGV Road User Levy Bill, which was debated in parliament on 23 October, will impose a levy on HGV road users of 10 a day for lorries weighing more than 12 tonnes, up to a maximum of 1,000. British lorries, which face similar charges when they travel in the EU, will also have to pay the levy, but vehicle excise duty will be cut to compensate.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Transport Minister, Norman Baker, said, “There has been an inequality for some time in that UK hauliers are often charged when they travel abroad through tolls and other charging schemes whereas foreign hauliers are able to use the UK network for no charge. This is an inequality which the UK government wishes to address through the legislation being put before the House today.” Labour supported the bill, with Shadow Transport Minister, Jim Fitzpatrick, stating, The unfairness dealt to the UK road haulage industry is well documented and they have long pressed for this measure to defend British industry, to protect UK roads and to create a level playing field with their European competitors.
Charging linked to road damage
The levy will be time-based and will vary according to the vehicle type, weight and number of axles. In this way, the government aims to ensure that the charges are linked directly to the amount of damage each HGV causes. UK-registered HGVs will pay the levy for either an annual or a six-monthly period, whereas foreign-registered vehicles can choose to pay the levy either daily, weekly, monthly or annually. The scheme will be administered by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and enforced by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) in Great Britain and the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA8) in Northern Ireland.
Levy welcomed by FTA
The legislation has been welcomed by the hard-pressed haulage industry. James Hookham, Managing Director of Policy & Communications for the Freight Transport Association (FTA), said, FTA has supported the idea of a charge on foreign vehicles for many years as a way of addressing at least partly the competitive differences between British registered operators and foreign-registered vehicles. However, there were important conditions attached to our support to avoid additional costs and burdens falling on UK operators, as the charge could not be applied to foreign vehicles alone. The FTA has set out three conditions of its support, submitted in response to a consultation back in January 2012. These conditions are as follows:
- That the cost of the levy must be fully recompensed for UK operators by an equivalent reduction in Vehicle Excise Duty (VED).
- That the cost and administrative burden of paying the levy must be no greater than that involved in acquiring a VED disc.
- There must be meaningful and financially significant penalties for operators that evade the charge.
The FTA is concerned that the overall scheme will not prove to be cost-neutral for UK hauliers. The reductions in VED will not be revealed until the Budget Statement in 2014 but the FTA points to the Department for Transport s own analysis in February 2012 which showed that some 6,500 vehicles fell into bands where VED rates were too low to fully offset the cost of the levy before the applicable EU minimum rate was reached. James Hookham concluded,
“Overall, we are pleased with the government’s plans to address this long-standing disparity between UK and foreign vehicle costs. Our main concerns seem to have been met and we will investigate further outstanding issues with members at FTA s National Council on 6 November.
Call for stronger legislation
Other lobbying bodies think that the bill could have gone further. The Campaign for Better Transport, for example, said the bill was a missed opportunity to introduce proper distance-based charging for lorries, as much of the rest of Europe is now doing. Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, commented, The bill is a step in the right direction, but by going for daily charges rather than a distance-based system, the government has missed an opportunity to charge foreign lorries properly and make our freight transport9 better and more sustainable. Most other European countries are opting for distance charges for lorries this levy leaves us out of step with much of Europe.
- ^ Susan Brooks (www.nationalpallets.co.uk)
- ^ levy (www.nationalpallets.co.uk)
- ^ bill (www.nationalpallets.co.uk)
- ^ charges (www.nationalpallets.co.uk)
- ^ dvla (www.nationalpallets.co.uk)
- ^ vosa (www.nationalpallets.co.uk)
- ^ dva (www.nationalpallets.co.uk)
- ^ Driver and Vehicle Agency (www.dvani.gov.uk)
- ^ Freight Transport (www.nationalpallets.co.uk)
UK transport companies1 will pleased by the news that European couriers2 and other foreign haulage firms could be paying for the use of UK roads by April 2014. Transport minister Stephen Hammond revealed that a debate on the Lorry Road User Charge which took place in the House of Commons earlier today has started the bill on its journey to becoming law.
According to the Handy Shipping Guide The Bill will introduce charges for all HGV s that weigh 12 tons and over for using the UK road network including road haulage vehicles registered overseas. The levy is designed to be cost neutral for UK hauliers, through offsetting reductions in Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) payments and the requisite changes to VED will be included in the Finance Bill 2014.
The main thrust of the bill is to level the playing field for UK delivery companies3; currently lorries from the UK pay to use roads abroad, but foreign hauliers don t have to pay to use roads in this country. The levy is based on the time a lorry spends on the roads and the weight and type of the vehicle which should make sure that the amount of money paid is linked to the amount of damage done to the roads.
Jack Semple, director of policy for the Road Haulage Association (RHA) , said: This is good news for British hauliers and we congratulate ministers on keeping this scheme firmly on track. RHA members have expressed strong support for this scheme. One reason is the principle of charging foreign trucks to use UK roads, another is the contribution it will make to addressing the cost disadvantage faced by British firms because of the high level diesel duty that they pay, which is much the highest in the EU. We recognise that this scheme achieves as much as can be done to level the playing field through road charging within EU law.
- Foreign lorries to face 1000 road charge British transport companies will be pleased to hear the news that the government is to…4
- Pothole compensation payments could have fixed road surfaces The removals team has a keen interest in news about potholes as uneven road surfaces…5
- Paralympic cycling road closures Man and van teams and couriers in Kent might need to give themselves a bit…6
- ^ transport companies (www.anyvan.com)
- ^ European couriers (www.anyvan.com)
- ^ delivery companies (www.anyvan.com)
- ^ Foreign lorries to face 1000 road charge (blog.anyvan.com)
- ^ Pothole compensation payments could have fixed road surfaces (blog.anyvan.com)
- ^ Paralympic cycling road closures (blog.anyvan.com)
The transport sector’s strike has ended after unions signed a wage agreement on Friday. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)
The transport sector’s strike has ended after unions signed a wage agreement on Friday. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)
The agreement, which includes the South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) was announced by the Road Freight Employers’ Association on Friday after wage talks resumed on Thursday evening.
Satawu general secretary Zenzo Mahlangu said his union was wrongly blamed for the violence.
“There were three other unions on strike as well but we hear Satawu being blamed for the violence. Employers know we never burnt a single truck.”
Earlier this week, three trade unions, jointly claiming to represent 15 000 workers, agreed to adjust their pay demand in an attempt to end a three week-long strike. But Satawu, which represents about 28 000 workers in the strike, was not included in that agreement.
Wage talks resumed on Thursday evening, resulting in the new agreement involving all unions.
The deal was staggered over three years and had a 10% wage increase in the first year, 8% in the second and 9% in the third.
The first wage increase would be implemented on March 1 2013.
The Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) said it was elated that the end of the strike was in sight.
“While we are mindful of the cost to the economy and the lives lost in this strike, we are convinced that the sector will now rebuild itself to the advantage of the greater South African economy,” Fedusa general secretary Dennis George said.
He would appeal to the labour minister to extend the agreement to non-parties in the road freight and logistics sector, to strengthen collective bargaining.
Cost runs into millions
The strike saw workers lose a total of R271-million in wages.
“Workers lost R271-million in wages while employers suffered a R1.2-billion loss a week,” Road Freight Employers’ Association chairperson Penwell Lunga told reporters in Johannesburg.
Lunga said employers had been operating at between 70% and 80% capacity as of Wednesday. Sapa
The Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) is urging Finance Minister, Michael Noonan to make up his mind on the association s proposal to introduce an Essential User Fuel Rebate (EUR) for the licensed road haulage industry.
The IRHA engaged with a Department of Finance Working Group for six months in order to establish the merits of introducing such a rebate for the haulage sector and the Minister was provided a the final submission document in early June.
The IRHA says the Minister has now had the full summer recess period in order to digest the Association s findings and make an informed decision.
IRHA President Eoin Gavin commented: The IRHA has been more than fair when dealing with Minister Noonan and his Department. However, industry cannot wait much longer for a decision on our EUR proposal.
Mr Gavin went on to say: While there was a very high profile haulage company closure last week, which was obviously regrettable, if there is nothing introduced to support our industry there will be further significant job losses in the run up to Christmas. The Government now has an opportunity to prevent this from happening and if they do not react accordingly our industry will be wiped out by the tsunami which is heading straight for it. We need innovative solutions from the Department of Finance in order to allow the road haulage sector to continue to contribute to our economic recovery. The French Government only this week acknowledged the importance of lowering fuel prices by reducing the cost of diesel to hauliers. France unlike Ireland has a considerable internal economy and a large freight rail network with connections throughout Europe and the UK. Ireland is totally dependent on exports for jobs which the Government, through fuel and truck taxes, are driving out of existence
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The Nova Scotia government has given the green light to trucking compressed natural gas on provincial roadways.
Hospitals, universities and other large energy users without access to natural gas by pipeline can have it delivered to their door, slashing energy bills by as much as 35 to 50 per cent.
It is a pivotal decision that could transform the province s energy landscape, giving struggling industries an alternative to ballooning oil prices.
Trucking compressed natural gas in a competitive marketplace could save our industrial sector tens of millions of dollars a year in energy costs, Energy Minister Charlie Parker said Wednesday.
This makes our companies more competitive and saves our universities and hospitals money that can be spent in the classroom or on patient care.
The report, commissioned in April, concluded that the distribution of compressed natural gas should not be subject to economic regulation.
Instead, it should be delivered through a competitive open market system, with a review set in five years.
The report and its recommendations balance the interests of large industrial and institutional customers who can benefit significantly right away from natural gas … and the interests of having a viable pipeline distribution system, Lahey said.
It s not a panacea that will solve the energy problems of every large institution or manufacturing facility in the province, but it will address a significant number.
Natural gas is significantly less expensive than a number of other options, such as heavy bunker oil, that large industrial facilities otherwise would be using, Lahey said.
Because most big energy users targeted for compressed natural gas are now using oil or other fuel sources, Parker said the decision is not likely to impact Nova Scotia Power electricity rates.
Heritage Gas, which has the monopoly on distributing natural gas via pipeline, reacted to the province s decision with muted praise.
We were anxious to get some clarity on this, so we re pleased the government has released the report and have made their decision, president Jim Bracken said.
I m pleased the decision does clearly acknowledge the need not to undermine the regulated distribution system. A couple of things support that, such as the prohibition on regulated compressed natural gas trucking for customers that are on our pipeline system.
However, companies that have expressed an interest in trucking the compressed natural gas and customers that could reap the benefits of a lower energy bill responded to the decision with enthusiasm.
Len Thompson, president of The Floating Pipeline Co., said trucking compressed natural gas is already common around the globe and will likely shape the province s energy future.
We ve been doing this for 10 years, battling it out in countries like Columbia, Peru and Thailand where it s quite commonplace, he said in an interview from Antigonish.
While it is still relatively new to North America, he said the significant savings could be a big plus for the province in attracting new industry.
Several big industrial energy users in the province have already expressed an interest in receiving trucked compressed natural gas.
Minas Basin Pulp & Power Co. Ltd., paper plate-maker CKF Inc. and Michelin North America, which has three tire plants in Nova Scotia, are all pointed to as potential customers.
J.D. Irving Ltd. spokeswoman Mary Keith said by email that not only could companies save money, they could also reduce their environmental footprint.
Keith said Irving operates a fleet of approved compressed natural gas delivery trucks between New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
We know first-hand the tremendous reduction in both greenhouse gases and costs that can be achieved with (compressed natural gas), she said, adding that it has reduced carbon dioxide emissions at Cavendish Farms on P.E.I. by 28 per cent.
Irving Oil also commended the province for making natural gas available to commercial customers in Nova Scotia without pipeline access.
Darren Gillis, general manager of Irving Energy, said in an interview from Pittsburgh that an open and competitive market will drive down costs and encourage business in the province.
Irving will begin finalizing contracts with customers and completing plans to invest in a compression facility and trucks, Gillis said.
However, he said it will likely be 18 months before Nova Scotians see trucks carrying compressed natural gas on the road.
The province said all rules and regulations that apply to transporting dangerous materials such as propane will be applied to the trucks.