SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said on April 2 that it is seeking comment from interested parties in the bulk wheat export industry on Viterra’s application to introduce long-term agreements for shipping at its six South Australian wheat port terminals.

Currently, Viterra allocates port terminal capacity to exporters for only one year at a time via annual auctions and a first-come-first-served process. The proposal would allow the opportunity for third party exporters to Viterra’s ports to seek to negotiate long-term access arrangements to Viterra’s wheat port terminals for a period of between two to five years.

“Viterra’s proposal to introduce long-term agreements is likely to be of interest to exporters and other market participants in South Australia. The ACCC seeks industry’s views on the impact the proposal is expected to have,” said ACCC Commissioner Cristina Cifuentes.

Viterra will also make available a minimum 500,000 tonnes of capacity per quarter across all its ports as short-term capacity. Short-term capacity will be available to all exporters through the existing first-come-first-served allocation process.

Viterra has identified a number of benefits that it submits will arise from establishing long-term agreements, including greater certainty for clients in planning longer term export programs.

The ACCC has published an issues paper outlining the changes in Viterra’s protocols. The closing date for submissions is April 24.

In addition to the ACCC consultation process, Viterra will also seek views from its clients during this period.

The issues paper and other relevant documents are available here.