Description of Conduct

The Hunter Valley Coal Chain Coordinator (HVCCC) is seeking authorisation to continue the activities it currently undertakes to support the efficient operation of the Hunter Valley export coal chain, following the expiration of the existing authorisation of the Capacity Framework Arrangements on 31 December 2024.

HVCCC was incorporated in 2009 and replaced the previous coal chain coordinator, the Hunter Valley Coal Chain Logistics Team. The HVCCC’s members are:

  • Producers – coal producers that export coal through the Port of Newcastle
  • Below rail track provider – Australian Rail Track Corporation Limited
  • Above rail haulage provides – Pacific National Pty Ltd; Aurizon Operations Limited; One Rail Australia (FLACH) Pty Ltd; and Southern Shorthaul Railroad Pty Ltd
  • Port terminals – Port Waratah Coal Services; and the Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group, and
  • Newcastle Port – Port Authority of NSW; and Port of Newcastle Operations Pty Ltd as trustee for the Port of Newcastle Unit Trust, the operator of the Port of Newcastle

(referred to as HVCCC Members).

The Hunter Valley export coal chain involves the shared use of the HVCCC’s Members’ services and infrastructure (each owned and operated by different parties) by multiple coal producers. This application relates to the HVCCC’s role in planning and coordinating the cooperative operation and alignment of capacity of the coal chain. It does not relate to the separate agreements entered into between below rail, above rail, port and/or port terminal operators and their respective customers.

The proposed conduct for which authorisation is sought is described in Attachment 1 to the application and in the supplementary submission received from the HVCCC on 22 January 2024. In summary, authorisation is sought to:

i. share information and coordinate between HVCCC and its Members and Related Entities for the purpose of:

  • Capacity planning – work to facilitate efficient and aligned system capacity planning across the coal chain. This includes the preparation and communication of Master Plans and Annual Coal Chain capacity plans (Annual Declaration and System Assumptions).
  • Operational planning – coordinating with Members and Related Entities to identify risks and opportunities for efficient operations, and prepare rolling plans to enable efficient and aligned operations across the coal chain. This includes obtaining information from, and coordinating with, Members and Related Entities to prepare and share short to medium term plans – for example: maintenance windows, cargo assembly plans, coal delivery schedules, rail plans and stockpile and vessel plans.
  • Facilitating the Live Run function – includes the monitoring and execution of daily plans and making recommendations to minimise losses from delays and disruptions, and ensure that impacts from events in Live Run are appropriately addressed and managed in future plans.
  • Recommending improvements in delivery of HVCCC Objects – including measuring and reviewing coal chain performance standards, creating and sharing performance reports, and recommending improvements to processes for planning and coordinating the cooperative alignment of the coal chain.

   ii. Any concerted practice, or any contract, arrangement or understanding between HVCCC Members or Related Entities that they will act in a particular way on the basis of a recommendation by, or advice from, the HVCCC; or any conduct that involves a Member or Related Entity making an independent decision based on, or giving effect to, a recommendation by, or advice from, the HVCCC in the delivery of HVCCC Objects, in each case so far as necessary or desirable to achieve the purposes set out in item (i).

(together the Proposed Conduct).

Authorisation is sought until 31 December 2034.

On 20 December 2023 the ACCC requested further information from the HVCCC about the Proposed Conduct. HVCCC’s supplementary submission was received on 22 January 2024 and is available from the Submissions section below.

The ACCC invites the views of interested parties on this application. Submissions are requested by Friday, 16 February 2024.

If you wish to make a submission in relation to this matter, please lodge it via this web form.

An indicative timeline for the ACCC’s assessment is set out below. Any changes to this timeline will be published here.  

Indicative date

Stage in assessment process

19 December 2024

Lodgement of application and supporting submission.

20 December 2023

ACCC information request.

23 January 2024

Public consultation process begins.

16 February 2024

Closing date for submissions from interested parties.

March 2024

Applicant responds to issues raised in the public consultation process.

April 2024

Draft determination.

April/May 2024

Public consultation on draft determination, including any conference if called.

June/July 2024

Final determination.


  • Hunter Valley Coal Chain Coordinator Limited

Authorisation number(s)

  • AA1000658-1