ACCC seeks views on lighter touch at NSW grain ports

Comment sought on regulation of facilities involving NAT, GrainCorp and Qube

ACCC seeks views on lighter touch at NSW grain ports
Port Kembla.


Regulation of Port Kembla and Newcastle ports is the focus of an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) call for submissions on proposals to lighten its touch on grain facilities.

Specifically, the ACCC has released draft determinations proposing to exempt Newcastle Agri Terminal (NAT) and Qube from the full extent of regulation at the Port of Newcastle and an issues paper seeking views on reducing the level of regulation at port terminal facilities owned by GrainCorp Operations and Quattro Ports, which is also linked with Qube, at Port Kembla.

Port terminal service providers must comply with the mandatory bulk wheat terminal access code and the moves are part of a nationwide exemption assessment process on a region by region basis.

ACCC commissioner Cristina Cifuentes makes plain its backing for the Newcastle move though it is less forward in its thinking on Port Kembla.

"The ACCC considers that the level of competition and spare capacity at the Port of Newcastle means that, even if exempt, NAT and Qube will face sufficient incentives to provide fair and transparent access to wheat exporters," Cifuentes says.

She points out that though NAT is considered an exempt, the code provides that exempt providers will still be required to deal with exporters in good faith and publish information including a port loading statement and port loading procedures.

For Port Kembla, the ACCC is currently considering whether it is appropriate for either or both of GrainCorp and Quattro to be exempt.

The relevant documents for Newcastle can be found here and for Port Kembla here.

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