Waterfront & shipping

ACCC concerned by NCC’s draft recommendation on Port of Newcastle

The ACCC is extremely concerned about the potential removal of regulation of the shipping channel service at the Port of Newcastle following the release of the National Competition Council’s (NCC’s) preliminary view to recommend that the Treasurer revoke declaration of the service.

The port provides the only commercially viable means of exporting coal from the Hunter Valley region in New South Wales. The port was privatised in 2014 via a 98-year lease to Port of Newcastle Operations.

ACCC takes action against NSW Ports

The ACCC has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against NSW Ports Operations Hold Co Pty Ltd and its subsidiaries Port Botany Operations Pty Ltd and Port Kembla Operations Pty Ltd for making agreements with the State of New South Wales that the ACCC alleges had an anti-competitive purpose and effect.

“We are alleging that making these agreements containing provisions which would effectively compensate Port Kembla and Port Botany if the Port of Newcastle developed a container terminal, is anti-competitive and illegal,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

Competition reduces stevedores’ profitability, but infrastructure charges are up

A record 5.1 million containers were lifted at the monitored ports last financial year, but profit margins in the container stevedoring industry suffered, according to the ACCC’s 20th annual container stevedoring monitoring report.

In 2017–18 the average prices charged to shipping lines fell further, resulting in a drop in profit margins to a low of 4.5 per cent, while productivity remained largely unchanged. Meanwhile stevedores increased ‘infrastructure charges’ which likely add costs to the supply chain.

Container stevedoring monitoring report 2017-18

The 2017-18 container stevedoring monitoring report presents information on the financial and operational performance of the monitored container stevedores, as well as observations regarding key developments within the sector.

Port of Newcastle to reduce charge for Glencore

The ACCC has finalised its arbitration of a dispute between Glencore Coal Assets Australia Pty Ltd (Glencore) and Port of Newcastle Operations Pty Ltd (PNO) about terms and conditions for accessing the ‘declared’ shipping channel service at the Port of Newcastle.

The ACCC has determined that PNO should reduce its current charge for ships entering the port to carry Glencore’s coal by around 20 per cent to $0.61 per gross tonne (GT).

The port provides the only commercially viable means of exporting coal from the Hunter Valley region in New South Wales.

Container stevedoring monitoring report 2016-17

The 2016-17 container stevedoring monitoring report presents information on the financial and operational performance of the monitored container stevedores, as well as observations regarding key developments within the sector.

ACCC notified of an access dispute over charges at the Port of Newcastle

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has been notified of an access dispute between Glencore Coal Assets Australia Pty Ltd (Glencore) and Port of Newcastle Operations Pty Ltd (PNO) in relation to the shipping channel service at the port. Glencore notified the ACCC of the access dispute on 4 November 2016 and has requested that the ACCC arbitrate.

ACCC report finds that container stevedoring prices are at their lowest level in 17 years

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s 2015-16 Container Stevedoring Monitoring Report has found that increased competition in container stevedoring has pushed prices to their lowest level in seventeen years.

“Australia’s container stevedoring industry is experiencing a period of increased competition and investment in infrastructure,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.