PATRICK is set to receive a “please explain” note from the competition regulator following the stevedore’s latest infrastructure fee hike.
The hikes were announced late last week and mirrored similar price rises announced last year not only by Patrick but also by competitor DP World Australia (DPWA).
“The ACCC was aware that Patrick was intending to further increase its infrastructure charges,” a spokesperson for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission told DCN.
“We recognise the significant concern within the industry about the impact of the infrastructure charges on transport operators and the broader supply chain.”
The spokesperson said the most recent stevedoring monitoring report noted it was “concerning that the nature of the port supply chain means that transport operators are limited in being able to switch stevedores in response to higher infrastructure charges”.
“We will seek a detailed explanation from Patrick regarding why it determined that a further increase was required,” the spokesperson said.
The ACCC has said it sought an explanation from DPWA regarding its November price increase.
“We will explore the issue of the infrastructure charges in detail in the 2017-18 container stevedoring monitoring report,” the spokesperson said.
“Last year, some organisations approached the ACCC with allegations that the infrastructure charges may have been in contravention of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. However, the ACCC did not find any breach.”