The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a draft decision proposing to consent Viterra Operations Limited’s (Viterra) application to extend and vary its 2011 Port Terminal Services Access Undertaking.
Viterra’s undertaking is due to expire on 30 September 2014, when a mandatory code of conduct is expected to be introduced to govern access to bulk wheat ports.
Viterra has applied to the ACCC to extend the operation of the undertaking to 30 September 2015, to ensure there is continuity of the access undertaking in the event the code is not in place before the expiration of the undertaking.
“The extension provides greater certainty to Viterra and third party exporters about the regulatory arrangements that will be in place after the current expiry date of Viterra’s undertaking, whether through the access undertaking or the mandatory code,” ACCC Commissioner Cristina Cifuentes said.
In addition to the application to extend the undertaking, Viterra also proposes to make a number of variations to its 2011 undertaking.
Proposed variations include changes to the first in first served booking process, the suspension of port loading protocols during periods of force majeure, and the movement of bookings between Inner Harbour and Outer Harbor facilities in Adelaide.
The ACCC’s draft decision is that the proposed extension and variations are appropriate, and proposes to consent to Viterra’s Application.
The ACCC has a role in approving access undertakings for port terminal operators who also have bulk wheat exporting operations. Viterra’s 2011 undertaking provides access for third party exporters to Viterra’s port terminal services for bulk wheat export at six of its port terminals in South Australia.
The ACCC is seeking comments from interested parties on its draft decision, before making its final decision. Submissions should be provided by 6 December 2013.
The ACCC’s draft decision is available at www.accc.gov.au/wheat