Peter Costello

Media Releases

Prices Monitoring of Container Stevedoring Services

NO.003

PRICES MONITORING OF CONTAINER STEVEDORING SERVICES

As part of the Governments reform package for the Australian waterfront, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has been directed to undertake the monitoring of prices, costs and profits relating to the supply of stevedoring services at container terminals in ports at the following locations: Adelaide; Brisbane; Burnie; Fremantle; Melbourne; and Sydney.

The ACCC will ensure the constant and transparent monitoring of progress towards the Governments seven benchmark objectives and that the costs of the stevedoring levy are fully absorbed by the stevedores.

On 8 April 1998, the Government announced a package designed to facilitate meaningful reform on the Australian waterfront. The package included seven benchmark objectives, agreed to by Australias major stevedoring companies (Patrick Stevedores and P&O Ports), which will lead to improved productivity and reliability, lower costs, and better workforce management. The seven benchmark objectives are:

  • an end to over-manning and restrictive work practices;
  • higher productivity (five port average crane rate of 25 container movements per hour);
  • greater reliability through less industrial action and elimination of disruptive work practices;
  • an improved safety performance;
  • lower costs across the waterfront logistics chain;
  • full and effective use of existing and new technology; and
  • improved training.

The major stevedores have undertaken to meet the full costs of reform through the application of a levy on the loading and unloading of cargo. The levy will, over time, repay the funds that are being made available through a wholly owned Commonwealth company, the Maritime Industry Finance Company (MIFCo). The Government established MIFCo to ensure that all stevedoring employees who are being made redundant as part of the reform process are paid their full redundancy entitlements. The major stevedores have agreed to absorb the full costs of the levy.

CANBERRA
22 January 1999

Contact Officers:
Alistair Davey
Treasurers Office
(02) 6277 7340

Tony Webster
Treasury
(02) 6263 3274

22 Jan 1999

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