June 17, 2024

Massive price hikes in DP World Australian ports must scuttle Auckland port privatization plans

DP World, the global port operator linked to a privatisation agenda at the Port of Auckland, is embroiled in controversy in Australia after massive price hikes for port users.

Terminal fees are set to jump more than 50% at DP World’s Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney operations, leading to one freight industry manager describing the situation as “daylight robbery”.

The price hit also led to Australia’s former competition watchdog chair, Graeme Samuel, saying the Government needed to take control of the model of privatisation that had led to “rampant high prices”.

Maritime Union of New Zealand National Secretary Craig Harrison says the news confirm findings in a report released in September 2023 by the Union that warned of major price hikes on freight if Port of Auckland was privatised.

Mr Harrison says the Union had accurately predicted the failure of the previous automation project at Port of Auckland, and it did not want to be proved right about port privatisation.

He says Auckland City needs to immediately dump any proposals to privatise the Port of Auckland, unless it wanted to wreck the local economy.

Mr Harrison says the DP World in Australia is currently at war with freight businesses, importers, exporters and their workforce.

“Do we really want to hand over a strategic asset and natural monopoly to this type of outfit?”

Protected industrial action is ongoing in Australian ports, with the Australian Council of Trade Unions last month calling on DP World to ‘return to good faith bargaining and abandon their attacks on hard working maritime workers in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle.’

More bad news about the practices of the multinational came out in a report released this week in Australia, showing DP World in Australia paid zero income tax in Australia over the last eight years, despite revenues of over $4.5 billion in that period.

A poll released by the Maritime Union on 11 October showed an overwhelming majority of Aucklanders wanted the Port of Auckland kept in public ownership.

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