Waterfront & shipping

Coal producers can collectively negotiate with Port of Newcastle

The ACCC has granted interim authorisation to the NSW Minerals Council and 10 coal producers to collectively negotiate with Port of Newcastle Operations (PNO) on terms and conditions of access to the port for coal exports, including prices.

The 10 coal producers that export coal through the Port of Newcastle are Glencore Coal, Yancoal Australia, Peabody Energy Australia, Bloomfield Collieries, Centennial Coal, Malabar Coal, Whitehaven Coal, Hunter Valley Energy Coal, Idemitsu Australia, and MACH Energy Australia.

ACCC appeals decision on user funding at the Port of Newcastle

The ACCC has applied to the Federal Court for a review of the Australian Competition Tribunal’s recent decision on the terms of access by Glencore Coal Assets Australia Pty Ltd (Glencore) to certain services at the Port of Newcastle.

The Tribunal re-arbitrated an access dispute between Glencore and Port of Newcastle Operations Pty Ltd (PNO), which was primarily about the charge for ships entering the port to export Glencore’s coal. The ACCC was the original arbitrator.

Container stevedoring monitoring report 2018-19

The 2018-19 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.

DP World, Hutchison Ports and VICT remove likely unfair contract terms

Three container stevedore companies have amended their contracts with land transport businesses after the ACCC raised concerns that certain terms in each of these agreements may be unfair contract terms.  

DP World Australia, Hutchison Ports Australia and Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT) agreed, after the ACCC’s intervention, to remove or amend terms in their standard form contracts that the ACCC considered were likely to be considered “unfair” within the meaning of the Australian Consumer Law.

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.