FTA, APSA looking into container storage fees

The Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA) has reported that it continues to receive enquiries from its members about storage and ‘dehire’ (return) detention fees for import sea freight consignments targeted for Container Examination Facility (CEF) processing.

As a part of their joint submission to the Federal Government’s Inquiry into Freight & Supply Chain Priorities, the FTA and the Australian Peak Shippers Association (APSA) has recommended that CEF-targeted containers have storage arrangements prescribed in Melbourne, Brisbane and Fremantle ports, to meet the benchmark established in Sydney under the Port Botany Landside Improvement Strategy (PBLIS) Mandatory Standards. Specifically, PBLIS clause 17, which mandates that stevedores must provide free storage for the day the container is returned from the CEF, and the two following days.

While the Australian Border Forced and the PBLIS have introduced a level of relief against stevedores fees for CEF-targeted containers, the FTA noted, to date there are no similar arrangements in place with shipping lines. Whether or not reporting has been completed within prescribed timelines, shipping lines commonly charge a fee if containers are not dehired to an empty container park within agreed terms.

The FTA and the APSA have brought this matter to the attention of the Inquiry, seeking a fairer and more reasonable operational outcome allowing extended free container dehire periods.

A fact sheet has been prepared which outlines the current statutory and operational procedures for dealing with CEF targeted containers.