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Purpose of the wheat port code
The Port Terminal Access (Bulk Wheat) Code of Conduct is often referred to as the Wheat Port Code of Conduct or wheat port code.
It’s a mandatory code prescribed under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.
The purpose of the wheat port code is to regulate the conduct of port terminal service providers. This is to ensure that exporters of bulk wheat have fair and transparent access to port terminal services.
The wheat port code began on 30 September 2014. The code replaced the previous wheat port access rules under the Wheat Export Marketing Act 2008.
See The development of bulk wheat exports regulation for information on changes in how the industry is regulated.
Who the wheat port code applies to
The wheat port code applies to:
- bulk wheat export port terminal service providers
- bulk wheat exporters.
Port terminal service providers must comply with all parts of the wheat port code unless they are an exempt service provider.
Exempt service providers don’t need to comply with Parts 3 to 6 of the wheat port code.
Obligations under the wheat port code
All port terminal service providers must:
- deal with bulk wheat exporters in good faith
- publish information on their website about how their services are being provided. This includes a loading statement with details about upcoming shipments, standard terms and reference prices, and policies and procedures for managing demand for services
- provide the ACCC with its loading statement in a format that we specify.
Non-exempt port terminal service providers must also:
- not discriminate in favour of themselves or an associated entity while providing services to an exporter
- not hinder an exporter’s access to port terminal services
- deal with disputes during negotiations for an access agreement through specified dispute resolution processes, including mediation and arbitration
- enter into an access agreement or negotiate the terms of an access agreement with an exporter when they apply to enter into an access agreement and certain criteria are satisfied
- publish their port loading protocol, expected capacity, and certain performance indicators and stock information
- have a capacity allocation system, and have it approved by the ACCC if it involves the allocation of capacity more than 6 months in advance
- retain records such as access agreements and variations to those agreements.
Bulk wheat exporters must:
- deal with port terminal service providers in good faith.
Our key roles under the wheat port code
We monitor compliance
The ACCC monitors compliance with the wheat port code, which can involve investigating potential breaches.
As part of its monitoring role the ACCC produces annual monitoring reports which analyse bulk grain exports during the previous Australian shipping year (1 October to 30 September the following year).
See What the ACCC does in bulk grain port monitoring.
We can grant exemptions
The wheat port code allows the ACCC to decide that a port terminal service provider is an exempt service provider for a specified port terminal facility.
Exempt service providers don’t need to comply with obligations in Parts 3 to 6 of the wheat port code in the course of providing services at a specified port terminal facility.
See Exemptions to the wheat port code for information on the exemption process.
We are required to assess capacity allocation systems in certain circumstances
A capacity allocation system is a system that a port terminal service provider uses to allocate the capacity of a port terminal facility to exporters.
Under the wheat port code, the capacity allocation system used by port terminal service providers must be approved by the ACCC when:
- the provider is not exempt, and
- the system involves the allocation of capacity more than 6 months in advance.
We publish guidelines on our process for approving capacity allocation systems.
See Guidelines on the ACCC’s process for approving capacity allocation systems.