Have your say on port allocations

THE Newcastle port allocation system might remain as it is temporarily after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission accepted a submission by the state government to allow an extension period to allow time to consider submissions from the industry.

Staff Reporter

The current vessel queue management system at Newcastle Port is set to expire on December 31, opening up an opportunity for a review of the way mining companies are allocated access to export infrastructure.

Leading the charge to bring about change is Port Waratah Coal Services, majority owned by giants Xstrata Coal and Rio Tinto, teaming up with rail operators Queensland Rail and Pacific National.

However, Ports Minister Joe Tripodi has urged the industry to be cautious when considering changing the allocation system and wrote to the ACCC to recommend extending the existing system for a year.

Tripodi has called on members of the coal industry to provide submissions to the consumer watchdog outlining their thoughts regarding the system so that they may be considered as part of the evaluation process.

"The ACCC review into a new allocation system is an important issue for all coal industry players," he said.

"I want to ensure every organisation that could be affected by changes to the existing system makes their feelings known."

Submissions are open until December 12 and can be emailed to adjudication@accc.gov.au or sent by fax to 02 6243 1211.