Qld coal exporters band together against Gladstone port

QUEENSLAND coal exporters will have more leverage to negotiate agreements with the Gladstone Ports Corporation after the competition watchdog allowed a coal producer group to bargain collectively.
Qld coal exporters band together against Gladstone port Qld coal exporters band together against Gladstone port Qld coal exporters band together against Gladstone port Qld coal exporters band together against Gladstone port Qld coal exporters band together against Gladstone port

Gladstone Harbour. Courtesy: Gladstone Ports Corporation.

Lou Caruana

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission granted interim authorisation for the RG Tanna Coal Export Terminal Producers to negotiate with GPC over terms and conditions of new coal handling and port services agreements.

The RG Tanna Coal Export Terminal Producers is made up of Anglo American Australia, BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance, Cockatoo Coal, Glencore, Idemitsu Australia Resources, Jellinbah Resources, Rio Tinto Coal Australia, Sojitz Coal Mining, Wesfarmers Resources and Yancoal Australia.

ACCC commissioner Dr Jill Walker said the applicants requested interim authorisation on the basis that GPC has commenced the negotiation process for the new coal handling and port services agreements.

“In granting interim authorisation, the ACCC considers that there is benefit in allowing the parties to begin to jointly negotiate to ensure there are no unnecessary delays in putting in place appropriate arrangements in respect of the terminals and the channel infrastructure, particularly given that new users of the port would like to commence shipping soon,” she said.

Interim authorisation allows the applicants to immediately commence collective negotiations with GPC, while the ACCC assesses the substantive application for authorisation.

Interim authorisation does not extend to the making of, or giving effect to, any agreements.

Interim authorisation commences immediately and will remain in place until the date that the ACCC's final determination comes into effect or is revoked.

The granting of interim authorisation in no way binds the ACCC in its consideration of the substantive application for authorisation.

Authorisation provides statutory protection from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

Broadly, the ACCC may grant an authorisation when it is satisfied that the public benefit from the conduct outweighs any public detriment.

Interim authorisation allows the parties to engage in the conduct prior to the ACCC considering the substantive merits of the application.

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