ASA expresses concern over report on Australian shipping reforms


The Australian Shipowners Association (ASA) has expressed concern about the assumptions made by a new report by Deloitte Access Economics on proposed reforms to the Australian shipping industry, which has attracted extensive media coverage.

The report claims that government efforts to curb the number of foreign ships operating in Australia could see freight costs rise by as much as 16 percent, with a resultant loss of up to 570 jobs. The ASA, the report's apparent suggestion that that there will be fundamental changes to increase the use of Australian ships and radically decrease the use of foreign ships operating in Australian coastal trades.   

"ASA simply doesn't see much of a change in the mix of foreign and Australian shipping resulting from the new Bill" said ASA's executive director, Ms Teresa Hatch. "Commentary focused on the proposed transitional licences is very perplexing. The transitional licences will have no effect whatsoever on shipping costs. The Bill allows over five years for foreign-flagged ships to 'transition', which is long enough for the existing foreign flagged, licensed operators to see out existing contracts.  These ships are already crewed with Australians, so the operating environment and cost base will be unchanged for these vessels."

According to the ASA, the design of the complete shipping reform package is aimed at levelling the playing field by making Australian shipping more competitive and consideration of the entire package is very important in that regard. The association maintains that the Bill does not limit access to foreign ships, nor does it demand the use of Australian ships. 

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