Most businesses provide incentives for returning customers. But not in New South Wales. Here, in a recent change to a long-standing practice, the relevant port authorities much prefers to penalise their customers by double-charging them.
A Navigation Service Charge is a statutory charge levied by port authorities on ships that enter a port. It is intended to recover the costs of maintaining safe navigation in the port, such as hydrographic surveys, dredging, navigation aids, port communications and so on.
It is a reasonable way to charge for access to, and the upkeep of, a port. But it is not reasonable for shipping companies to be forced to pay it twice on one port call.
Ships around the world are sometimes, for reasons beyond their control, required by port authorities to temporarily depart port.
But in New South Wales, the shipping company is then unfairly slugged with a demand from the very same port authority to pay the Navigation Service Charge again!
And at a cost of up to $60k a time, it’s a pretty costly practice.
Shipping Australia has appealed to the various relevant authorities, including the portfolio Minister, and is seeking an amendment to the existing legislation so that the reality of the longstanding, sensible and fair practice of charging just once is reflected in law.
An extended version of this article will appear in the forthcoming edition of Shipping Australia Magazine.