ACCC eyes GrainCorp over access arrangements

ACCC has started consultation on agribusiness GrainCorp's proposed wheat export terminal access arrangements

By Rob McKay | October 11, 2010

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has started consultation on agribusiness GrainCorp’s proposed wheat export terminal access arrangements for October 2011 to September 2014.

The ACCC has made clear its interest in the performance of terminals using "first in, first served" protocols during what is expected to be a bumper harvest season.

GrainCorp’s proposed undertaking relates to the provision of access to services for the export of bulk wheat at seven grain terminals it operates in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

The proposals cover Fisherman Islands, Gladstone and Mackay in Queensland, while GrainCorp wants new arrangements at NSW terminals Carrington and Port Kembla.

The ACCC will also look at the proposal to alter arrangements at Geelong and Portland in Victoria.

"GrainCorp must have access arrangements in place by 1 October 2011 in order to retain accreditation to export bulk wheat under the Wheat Export Marketing Act 2008," the regulator says.

"The ACCC accepted an access undertaking from GrainCorp on 29 September 2009 for two years until 30 September 2011. GrainCorp has now submitted a proposed access undertaking for the period from 1 October 2011 to 30 September 2014."

GrainCorp's proposed undertaking includes publication of price and non-price terms for standard services; non-discriminatory access; negotiation of access in good faith; arbitration of access disputes, and publication of key port information.

Deadline for submissions is November 4, with the draft determination down for the end of January next year and the final decision by the end of April.

The move comes a little more than a year after the ACCC formally approved the then big three operators’- CBH, GrainCorp and Ausbulk - grain port access arrangements.

Ausbulk, once part of ABB, is now owned by Canadian multinational Viterra.

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