Glencore Calls for Price Regulation in Newcastle Port
Coal mining giant Glencore has now applied to have the competition watchdog oversee pricing in the newly privatised Port of Newcastle, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.
The NSW port is hiking some shipping charges up to 60 percent after its $1.75 billion privatisation last year. Glencore has made the application to the National Competition Council, describing the shipping channels in the Port of Newcastle as a natural 'bottleneck' monopoly.
This pitch for Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) protection comes as management of Victoria's Port of Melbourne stares down a similar threat of declaration under national competition law, and both sides of the Queensland coal chain continue to grapple with a State-based regulatory process that has manufactured a deadlock over the pricing and access regime for their rail network.
The Port of Melbourne "declared" under part of IIIA of the Competition and Consumer Act, after the port tried to raise DP World's rent up to 800 percent.
Declaration allows third parties to share use of infrastructure facilities of national significance and enables the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to intervene in pricing disputes.
Glencore, which exports coal through Port of Newcastle, has asked the National Competition Council (NCC) to have access to the port's shipping channels, including berths next to wharves declared for at least 15 years.