Undertakings secure Webb Dock vehicle terminal for WWL

Subsidiary MIRRAT must run facility in a non-discriminatory way, ACCC says

Undertakings secure Webb Dock vehicle terminal for WWL
Webb Dock as it is expected to be when developed fully.

International transport and logistics giant Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL) has surmounted the biggest regulatory obstacle to controlling the Webb Dock West automotive terminal at the Port of Melbourne.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has given WWL subsidiary Melbourne International RoRo & Auto Terminal (MIRRAT) the green light to operate the terminal on an open access basis until mid-2040.

The ACCC had been concerned that MIRRAT could use its position as a vertically integrated operator of the sole automotive terminal at the Port of Melbourne to discriminate against rival automotive shipping lines and other terminal users that MIRRAT may compete with in future.

It was concerned that MIRRAT could begin supplying other terminal services and discriminate against competitors in these other downstream markets and potentially use its ability to raise the cost to its rivals of terminal access to disadvantage its rivals, making it more difficult for them to compete in the supply of shipping and other terminal services.

To address concerns, the undertaking requires or provides that:

  • MIRRAT comply with open access conditions and berthing allocation rules in its operation of the terminal
  • MIRRAT ring fence the confidential information of terminal users to ensure that confidential information is not disclosed to unauthorised personnel
  • there be mechanisms for independent resolution of price and non-price related disputes if terminal users consider they have been discriminated against or have other concerns relating to the supply of terminal services by MIRRAT
  • terminal users are able to request that the ACCC-approved independent auditor conducts an audit check of MIRRAT’s compliance with the undertaking at any time if the terminal user is concerned that MIRRAT has breached its undertaking obligations.

"An important feature of the undertaking is the ability for the ACCC to publicly review it two years after commencement and every five years thereafter," ACCC Chairman Rod Sims says.

"In this review, the ACCC can identify any changes that need to be made to ensure that the undertaking continues to address competition concerns throughout its 22-year term." 

"The review process may take into account submissions from interested parties and the findings and recommendations from the independent auditor, who will be monitoring MIRRAT’s compliance with the undertaking."

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