Stevedores’ revenues and profit margins increased overall in the last financial year despite the global pandemic causing the largest contraction in container volumes in a decade, according to the ACCC’s Container Stevedoring Monitoring Report 2019‑20.
Waterfront & shipping
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.
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.
Higher infrastructure charges imposed on trucks and rail operators at ports helped the container stevedoring industry increase average revenue per container lift for the first time in seven years, according to the ACCC’s container stevedoring monitoring report.
The Port of Newcastle is at risk of becoming a monopolist without constraint, said ACCC Chair Rod Sims.
Mr Sims was speaking at the Australasian Transport Research Forum on the ACCC’s perspectives on a number of transport issues.
Mr Sims noted the NCC’s recent recommendation to revoke the declaration of the shipping channel service at the Port of Newcastle, which has now occurred.
ACCC Chair Rod Sims addresses the Australasian Transport Research Forum on the ACCC’s perspectives on a number of transport issues, in particular the importance of having the right regulatory frameworks in place to ensure transport infrastructure projects serve the interests of the community.
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.
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.