ACCC allows minor variations to AAT joint venture authorisation

5 December 2013

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has allowed minor variations to authorisation of the Australian Amalgamated Terminals Pty Ltd (AAT) joint venture.

The minor variations will enable AAT to operate the terminal at Appleton Dock at the Port of Melbourne for a transitional period between 1 January 2014 and 31 December 2017.

“The ACCC considers that the variation is minor and will not reduce the net benefit of the authorisation,” ACCC Commissioner Dr Jill Walker said.

The transitional period relates to the port capacity project being undertaken by the Port of Melbourne Corporation. As part of the project, Webb Dock East will be closed for redevelopment. Cargo that is usually directed through Web Dock East will be redirected to Webb Dock West and Appleton Dock during this transitional period.

The Port of Melbourne Corporation approached AAT to act as the single terminal operator, operating both Webb Dock West and Appleton Dock during this transitional period.

The ACCC granted conditional authorisation to AAT in 2009, allowing it to operate motor vehicle and general cargo handling facilities, known as terminals, at ports in Brisbane, Wollongong, Melbourne, Launceston and Adelaide.

The ACCC imposed three conditions to the authorisation covering stevedore access, price review and dispute resolution. These are intended to ensure that AAT's conduct is consistent with competitive practices and provides the opportunity for users of AAT's terminals to raise and resolve issues with AAT. The conditions will apply to AAT’s operation of the Appleton Dock terminal.

The ACCC has undertaken its assessment of the proposed minor variation in accordance with the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, including undertaking public consultation.

Broadly, the ACCC may allow a minor variation to an authorisation where it is satisfied that the proposed variation does not materially change the effect of the existing arrangements and would not reduce the benefits to the public that arose from the original authorisations, and would not be likely to reduce the extent to which those benefits outweigh the public detriments.

The determination will be available on the Authorisation Register.

Release number: 
MR 277/13
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