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Henning Harders February Newsletter

Australian Trusted Traders eligible for expanded duty deferral benefit

Australian Border Force is expanding the Australian Trusted Trader duty deferral benefit to help further improve cash flows for eligible businesses.

An eligible Australian Trusted Trader must already be registered for deferred GST with the Australian Taxation Office and may then opt into the duty deferral benefit. The expansion of the benefit, referred to as ‘Duty Deferral Plus’, will see the following charges, in addition to duty, deferred for payment until the 21st of the month following importation.

  • Import Processing Charge
  • Wine Equalisation Tax
  • Luxury Car Tax
  • Wood Levy and Agriculture Processing Charge

Trusted Trader importers will receive an invoice on the 16th of the month, listing all import liabilities from the prior month, with the amount to be drawn from the importer’s nominated bank account on the 21st of the month (or the next banking day).

Trusted Traders that have already opted into the duty deferral benefit will be contacted by their account manager to make arrangements to move across to Duty Deferral Plus.

For clients not enjoying this benefit, or not yet an accredited Australian Trusted Trader, please contact Harders Advisory to discuss the scheme and its benefits.


Landside Logistics

To welcome into the new year new landside fees at DP World across all national ports came into effect from the 2nd of February. In addition, Patrick Terminals will also introduce updated charges from the 6th of March 2023 and will reflect an increase to Infrastructure and Booking Fees of 9.70%.

Patrick Terminal noted this month that it’s currently embarking on a significant investment program with $220 million already spent over the past three years and another $80 million committed across this current year. Patrick claim that these investments enable significant productivity benefits for landside operators, the container supply chain and Australian consumers.

Along with these critical investments, cost increases to Property leases (approx. 134% since privatization), operational (10% due to inflationary pressures) and Energy costs (30% increase) all drive the changes to port usage fees.

Across at DP World increases to Infrastructure Fees of 8.78% were implemented plus a new fee called “Energy Charge“ of $5.30 per container. This no doubt sets a precedent for other ports to follow DP Wolds lead over the next 12 months and considering the pressure on Energy costs it becomes most likely.

Most trucking companies implemented increases to base rates in January claiming inflationary pressures on business. Increases in wages, equipment and assets are key drivers of changes in general tariffs and these have been felt across the board. Will be interesting to see how the next 12 months is seen if inflation stabilizes into 2024 as predicted.

Please do not hesitate to contact your Account Manager if you have any questions concerning these.


First Casualty of 2023 – Trans Tasman Trade

We have received confirmation that Focus Container Line has ceased services between Australia and New Zealand.

Sadly, the carrier has gone into liquidation which showcases how volatile the current climate is and in these turbulent times, the question is who may be next as freight rates on all World Wide Indices continue to record weekly decreases.

Media reports suggest that empty container park operators are concerned with the high number of empty units that were on lease to this carrier taking up space at their depots. Therefore, the urgent need to reposition these containers to prevent further congestion in Australia

In addition to this the adverse weather conditions will continue to delay vessels at the ports of Tauranga and Auckland as both ports were closed for 3 days. The port of Napier is closed until the end of the week with Lyttleton also closing due to inclement weather conditions.

Shipping lines will need to take action and omit ports to rectify schedules and therefore delays will be inevitable in this trade. Our team is ready to assist you to pre-plan your shipments with additional lead times to mitigate these in order to meet your deadlines.

We do foresee this trade becoming over-tonnaged and many dedicated services will be under extreme pressure to survive.

It is imperative that you stay close to our team of Key Account Management professionals to understand the risks of supporting new carriers and the “too good to be true” freight rates that may start to emerge in this troubled trade.

There will be some challenges ahead in this trade however we are confident that the traditional shipping lines will adjust their services to ensure minimal disruptions are experienced.


Australia’s industrial property market ‘tightest in the world’

As reported widely in the Australian business media in the second half of 2022, Australia now has the lowest industrial vacancy rate in the world with an average of less than 0.8 percent.

Melbourne vacancy rate is now less than 1.1 percent while Sydney is only around 0.3 percent making it near impossible to secure additional warehouse space. Brisbane’s vacancy rate is now less than 1.4 percent with Adelaide around 0.9 percent.

With this chronic short-supply of warehouse space, warehouse rental growth has been most pronounced in Sydney at 23 percent growth year-on-year, followed by a 17 percent increase in Perth and a 14 percent increase in Melbourne.

The rise of e-commerce and the increased onshoring of raw materials and finished goods to guard against supply chain disruptions has been blamed for this sudden increase in demand. Most established companies moved from a ‘just-in-time’ lean inventory model to one of holding ‘just-in-case’ inventory to avoid the dreaded stock-outs.

This trend appears to be starting to unwind itself now, although warehouse space and capacity remains extremely tight and will do for the next 2-3 years given the timeframe it takes to bring new warehouse capacity online. It is of course difficult to predict what future global disruptions might be lying around the corner in the meantime. Harders Contract Logistics’ first Melbourne third-party logistics (3PL) state-of-the-art facility is currently being built to 5-Star Green Star standard and will be ready to accept up to 12,000 pallets later this year. If you would like to have a confidential discussion regarding your upcoming warehousing space requirements, please do not hesitate to contact your Harders strategic account manager or sales representative.


Increase to Biosecurity Cost Recovery

As previously reported, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) is expanding its response to the growing threat hitchhiker pests, such as khapra beetle and brown marmorated stink bug, pose to Australian biosecurity. With the increase in trade volumes and added supply chain complexities adding further strain, a cost recovery review has resulted in a nominal increase to the biosecurity cost recovery charge for full import declarations for goods arriving in Australia by sea.
Effective 16th January 2023, DAFF has increased the full import declaration charge from $49 to $58 for sea freight import declarations with a customs value exceeding AUD 1000.
There is no increase to the charge for goods arriving by air.


Clarification of Annual Packing Declaration Issuance

Henning Harders recently wrote to clients to confirm the clarification issued by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry relating to the issue of annual packing declarations. The Minimum Documentary and Import Declaration Requirements Policy sets out the department’s requirements as below.

Information requirement for annual packing declarations

Annual packing declarations must:

  • contain all statements required by the Non-commodity information requirements policy.
  • be issued by the exporter, supplier or packer who packed the goods into the container.
  • be endorsed by an employee of the company issuing the annual packing declaration. This includes the name and signature of the employee.

The department has sought to clarify their intent of this section to avoid any doubt:

“The intent of section 4.5.2 is that the packing declaration must be issued by the exporter who packed the goods in the container, or the supplier who packed the goods in the container, or the packer who packed the goods in the container. A packer is an entity who packs the goods into a container or observes the container being packed for export to an Australian territory.”

This means that a supplier of goods that does not pack the container directly is not able to issue an annual packing declaration.

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