The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is seeking comment from interested parties in the bulk wheat export industry on Viterra’s application to introduce long term agreements for shipping at its six South Australian wheat port terminals.
Currently, Viterra allocates port terminal capacity to exporters for only one year at a time via annual auctions and a first-come-first-served process. The proposal would allow the opportunity for third party exporters to Viterra’s ports to seek to negotiate long term access arrangements to Viterra’s wheat port terminals for a period of between two to five years.
“Viterra’s proposal to introduce long term agreements is likely to be of interest to exporters and other market participants in South Australia. The ACCC seeks industry’s views on the impact the proposal is expected to have,” ACCC Commissioner Cristina Cifuentes said.
Viterra will also make available a minimum 500,000 tonnes of capacity per quarter across all its ports as short term capacity. Short term capacity will be available to all exporters through the existing First Come First Served allocation process.
Viterra has identified a number of benefits that it submits will arise from establishing long term agreements, including greater certainty for clients in planning longer term export programs.
The ACCC has published an Issues Paper outlining the changes in Viterra’s protocols. The closing date for submissions is Friday 24 April 2015.
In addition to the ACCC consultation process, Viterra will also seek views from its clients during this period.
The Issues Paper and other relevant documents are available at Viterra 2015.
The ACCC is assessing Viterra’s proposal in accordance with the Port Terminal Access (Bulk Wheat) Code of Conduct. The Code provides for the ACCC to have a role approving the capacity allocation system used by a port terminal service provider.
The Code commenced on 30 September 2014, replacing the previous regime of access undertakings administered by the ACCC. It regulates bulk wheat port terminal operators.