Many freight operators were greatly alarmed by Kiwi Rail’s sudden and unilateral imposition of a 15.5% levy on commercial vehicles which was to taken effect from last 16 December 2016.
Road Transport Forum chief executive Ken Shirley said the forum had been in discussions with senior management of KiwiRail and others and advises that the board and executive of Kiwi Rail have now decided the levy will not take effect until 31st January 2017.
“I believe the company has accepted the unreasonable timing and suddenness of this announcement and now better appreciate that transport operators need time and information to allow them to pass these significant increases on to their customers,” he said.
“It is our understanding that KiwiRail will be communicating the reasons for the increase and sharing more information on the role that they intend to play in improving the resilience of New Zealand’s freight sector prior to their proposed levy taking effect.”
Shirley said the position of the forum is that KiwiRail must, in the long term, operate on a commercial basis without government subsidy and with healthy competition to prevent monopolistic behaviour.
“Equally transport operators cannot be expected to keep absorbing additional costs and overall it is imperative that freight costs are passed through to the consumer.”
The forum will be coordinating a more detailed analysis of the KiwiRail proposal early in the New Year in conjunction with key transport operators and member associations.