RTF UNIMPRESSED WITH INTERISLANDER LEVY

Road Transport Forum (RTF) chief executive Ken Shirley has expressed his members’ displeasure with a pending 15.5% “earthquake levy” to be introduced on commercial vehicles travelling on the Interislander.

Mr Shirley says the levy, which is due to be implemented as from the middle of next month, highlights the “deep seated” issues being faced by Interislander parent company, KiwiRail, which have been “brought to the fore following the damaging earthquakes”.

“The proposed levy is more an ongoing ‘capacity levy’ rather than an ‘earthquake levy’ and the restoration of the Picton to Christchurch direct road and rail routes will not solve the problem,” he says.

“There is a potential for this levy to become permanent once imposed under the guise of an ‘earthquake levy’.”

He says road transport operators are facing resistance from customers when negotiating recovery of this new cost which comes on top of the additional costs stemming from the alternative route connecting Picton with Christchurch and regions further south.

“Fundamentally it is now a different freight task. Many report additional costs of at least 20%.”

However, Mr Shirley emphasises that road transport operators “cannot and should not absorb these additional costs”.

“A greater effort is required to ensure that freight costs are met by the customer and consumer. An awareness and understanding of the problem is always a good starting point.”