SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — The ACCC has proposed to exempt Viterra from parts of the Port Terminal Access (Bulk Wheat) Code at the grain company’s Port Adelaide Inner Harbor and Outer Harbor facilities.
Viterra applied to be exempt from parts three to six of the code at all six of its South Australian port terminals; however, the ACCC’s draft determinations do not propose to exempt the company’s Port Lincoln, Wallaroo, Port Giles, and Thevenard facilities.
“Although Viterra is the dominant port service provider for South Australia’s bulk grain export market, we’ve formed the preliminary view that an increase in competition justifies a reduction in regulation at Inner Harbor and Outer Harbor,” said Mick Keogh, deputy chair of the ACCC. “The draft determinations for Inner Harbor and Outer Harbor were finely balanced but after looking at the South Australian grains market in detail, we were satisfied that Viterra’s Port Adelaide terminals face a level of competition from nearby third-party facilities, Port Adelaide’s containerized exports, as well as domestic grain markets.
“We don’t believe that Viterra’s port terminal facilities around the Yorke Peninsula and Eyre Peninsula face sufficient competition to support exemptions at this time, though the ACCC will continue to closely monitor developments in the South Australian market.”
According to the ACCC, 68% of all grain grown in South Australia over the last six years and 94% of all bulk grain exports have been exported through Viterra’s port terminal facilities.
If exempt, Viterra will no longer be subject to the code’s non-discrimination requirements and dispute resolution processes. The company also will not require ACCC approval of capacity allocation systems, and no longer be required to publish certain information about expected capacity or bulk grain stocks held at these port terminals.
The ACCC did note that exempt service providers are still required to deal with exporters in good faith, publish a port loading statement and loading procedures, and make standard terms and reference prices available.
“The code exists to ensure that bulk wheat exporters have fair and transparent access to terminal facilities,” Keogh said. “Because the level of competition in port services varies significantly between regions, we take a balanced approach and are comfortable reducing regulation in places where multiple service providers are operating.
“We rely on industry input to assist our decision making and given these are draft determinations, we welcome the views of stakeholders, including growers, traders, exporters and infrastructure operators up until Nov. 3.”
Submissions can be made at Viterra wheat port exemption assessment.
The ACCC said it will make the final determinations after submissions have been considered.