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Port of Melbourne comes under attack

Sydney: There’s plenty of disquiet around the docks of the host city of this weekend’s Cricket World Cup final. The Port of Melbourne has come under fire from both dockworkers and one its key tenants, Middle Eastern terminal operator, DP World. The latter is going to great lengths to fight a 767% rent increase at its terminal in the Victorian city, even filing two freedom-of-information applications with the state government.

“We have lodged an online application to the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance for access to documents relating to rent for West Swanson dock,” managing director Paul Scurrah told local media.

“We have also written to the Port of Melbourne Corporation for more information on the proposed rental increase determination.”

Scurrah said he was concerned about the downstream impacts the proposed rental increase will have on the Victorian and Tasmanian economies.

Meanwhile, the local maritime union has urged the Labor Party to support attempts to overturn Victorian premier Daniel Andrews’ bid to sell the Port of Melbourne.

“Most ports in the world are publicly owned, because it is recognised that not all the benefits of the port can be captured by one entity,” a spokesperson for Maritime Union of Australia said.

“The negative effects of privatisation of ports in other states demonstrate huge increased fees and charges and job losses,” he added.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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