AusRAIL, Market Sectors

ACCC raises road and rail access pricing with Productivity Commission

<p>Government and private industry bodies have raised the issue of different pricing systems for road and rail access in submissions to the Productivity Commission’s review on national competition policy.</p> <p>The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and Pacific National drew attention to differences in the road and rail pricing systems, and the resultant effects on competition.</p> <p>Pacific National has called for increases in heavy vehicle access pricing to achieve "competitive neutrality between road and rail freight transport", but the ACCC was less direct in pinpointing which mode was at a disadvantage.</p> <p>The ACCC said the difference in infrastructure access pricing meant that one mode of transport "may be unduly favoured over the other".</p> <p>"As well as leading to a potential misallocation of resources, this may create congestion problems on the lower cost transport mode," the ACCC submitted.</p> <p>"Increasing the consistency between the two pricing regimes should foster competitive neutrality between modes of transport and improve the efficiency of Australia’s logistics network." </p> <p>Due to competition from other modes, rail access charges did not always recover the cost of providing rail access services, including the initial capital investment, capital expenditure and various operating expenses, the ACCC said. </p> <p>The ACCC also noted that neither mode of transport was priced to take into account the "external costs" that users impose on other members of the community, including congestion, noise and accidents.</p> <br />