PORT of Newcastle has welcomed an Australian Competition Tribunal decision this week regarding navigation and wharf pricing.

The matter related to a dispute between Glencore Coal and the port.

Following privatisation five years ago, the new port operator implemented new charges the Navigation Service Charge and the Wharfage Charge.

After it assumed the role of port operator, the private operators (PNO) implemented a restructure of its charges with the effect the price for coal ships using the port increased by between 40% and 60% for some ships.

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In making its decision, the ACT noted prices should “provide an incentive to a service provider to efficiently (and in a timely fashion) invest in maintaining and improving infrastructure necessary to provide facilities at the port”.

“Prices that are too low can lead to non-investment or delayed investment, or the non-provision of some infrastructure services,” the tribunal stated.

Port of Newcastle chief executive Craig Carmody said they had long said “that port pricing should remain subject to an appropriate and efficient commercial relationship between the port and its customers”. 

“Following on from the Australian government’s announcement in September regarding the revocation of the declaration of service at the Port of Newcastle, a period of unnecessary uncertainty for all parties has hopefully now been concluded,” Mr Carmody said.

“We look forward to sitting down with all our customers to discuss our services and pricing as part of a return to a normal commercial relationship.”

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