The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has granted an exemption for GrainCorp’s Carrington terminal at the Port of Newcastle under the new mandatory Code on bulk wheat terminal access.
The Code commenced on 30 September 2014, replacing the previous regime of access undertakings administered by the ACCC. It regulates monopoly bulk wheat port terminal operators to ensure that exporters have fair and transparent access to terminal facilities.
The exemption is in line with the ACCC’s decision in June to approve a variation to GrainCorp’s previous 2011 access undertaking to reduce regulation for the Carrington terminal. Starting on 1 October 2014, the exemption means that GrainCorp’s Carrington facility will continue to be subject to a minimal level of regulation under the Code, providing regulatory certainty for GrainCorp and industry.
“The ACCC considers that a more competitive market for the export of bulk wheat serves the interests of farmers and reduces the need for regulatory intervention. The level of regulation applied to bulk wheat port terminals should depend on the incentive and ability of the service provider to exert market power to damage competition,” ACCC Commissioner Cristina Cifuentes said.
“Granting the exemption for GrainCorp’s terminal at the Port of Newcastle is appropriate because there is competition at the port and across the supply chain in upstream and downstream markets, limiting GrainCorp’s market power.”
“The ACCC is keen to reduce regulation where it is not necessary, such as where competition has developed. The ACCC expects to assess a number of other exemptions over the next year,” Ms Cifuentes said.
The wheat ports Code represents the next stage in the deregulation of the bulk wheat export industry. The ACCC enforces the Code, and also has other specific roles, including granting exemptions under the Code.
The ACCC has assessed the exemption for GrainCorp’s Carrington terminal against the relevant matters set out in the Code.
For the ACCC's decision see: GrainCorp Newcastle exemption.