Truckies are up in arms about charges by the Port of Napier to cover its increased insurance costs.
“The road freight transport industry is not a customer of the port,” says David Aitken, the CEO of National Road Carriers, the largest New Zealand-wide organisation representing the road transport industry.
“Our members are simply delivering or collecting containers and other freight on behalf of importers, exporters and the shipping companies.
“The road freight transport industry is simply a service provider.”
The Port of Napier and other ports around the country are facing increased insurance premiums in the wake of the Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquakes and the cost of repairing the damage to the ports at Lyttelton and Wellington.
The port is charging $8.95 for every 20-foot container that enters or leaves the port area or 50 cents for every ton of bulk freight.
Aitken says the Port of Napier should be passing on its increased insurance charges to its customers, the shipping companies, if it was not prepared to absorb the cost itself.
“Some of our members who work the port regularly will have trucks there in their hundreds, if not thousands of times a year.”
The port has claimed the global shipping climate means shipping companies are under extreme distress and have no ability to pay.
“The port has picked on small local trucking companies as the line of least resistance,” Aitken believes.
“The local road freight transport industry is extremely competitive, with very low margins.”
Aitken says trucking companies were facing increased insurance costs and would either be absorbing costs or passing them onto customers.”
“The port should either absorb the increased insurance costs, improve their productivity or negotiate collection of the charges through their commercial clients, the shipping lines.’
Aitken likened the charge to supermarkets suddenly charging trucks to deliver freight if the supermarket’s internal costs increased.
“The Port of Napier should be charging its customers,” Aitken insists, “not our members.”
National Road Carriers is the largest nationwide organisation representing companies involved in the road transport industry.
It has 1700 members, who collectively operate 15,000 trucks throughout New Zealand.