The operating profit margin of Australia’s container stevedoring industry has increased by 14 percentage points since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to the highest level observed since the Patrick and DP World duopoly ended about a decade ago, the ACCC’s Container Stevedoring Monitoring Report 2021-22 reveals.
Waterfront & shipping
The ACCC has outlined preliminary competition concerns with the proposed acquisition of the Port of Geelong by the Spirit Super Palisade Consortium in a statement of issues published today.
The Spirit Super Palisade Consortium includes a range of superannuation and infrastructure funds including the Diversified Infrastructure Fund managed by Palisade Investment Partners. Investors managed by Palisade also wholly own and operate the Port of Portland, a bulk commodity port in south-west Victoria.
The ACCC has discontinued its review of the proposed merger between global container handling equipment companies Cargotec and Konecranes.
Cargotec and Konecranes abandoned the transaction on 29 March 2022 after the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) blocked the merger, and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) informed the parties that it intended to sue.
The High Court yesterday handed down its decision in Port of Newcastle Operations Pty Ltd (PNO) and Glencore Coal Assets Australia Pty Ltd (Glencore).
The High Court decided that Glencore was able to seek an access determination under Part IIIA of the Competition and Consumer Act in respect of navigation charges at the port.
However, the ACCC is concerned about the implications of yesterday’s decision regarding the calculation of the navigation charge for port users to export coal from the Port of Newcastle.
The COVID-19 pandemic has destabilised the global container freight supply chain, and delayed shipments and rapidly rising freight rates are putting intense pressure on Australian exporters and importers, a new report from the ACCC reveals.
The ACCC will conduct an investigation into potential competition issues arising from Qube’s (ASX: QUB) completed acquisition of the Newcastle Agri Terminal. As the investigation relates to a completed acquisition it will be conducted on an enforcement basis.
Qube notified the ACCC on 8 September 2021 and then completed the transaction on 30 September, despite requests from the ACCC to delay completion of the transaction after competition concerns were raised by market participants.
Privatising assets without allowing for competition or regulation creates private monopolies that raise prices, reduce efficiency and harm the economy, ACCC Chair Rod Sims said in a speech on Thursday.
Speaking at the 2021 ACCC/AER Regulatory Conference, Mr Sims discussed the need to either avoid monopolies, or if not then regulate them, to prevent costs to the economy arising from unfettered use of their market power.
Mr Sims put forward two possible solutions to avoid privatisations creating future unfettered private monopolies.
The ACCC has lodged an appeal against the Federal Court’s decision to dismiss the ACCC’s proceedings against NSW Ports Operations Hold Co Pty Ltd and its subsidiaries Port Botany Operations Pty Ltd and Port Kembla Operations Pty Ltd (together, NSW Ports).