AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Competition rules could be eased for export-only ports

<p>Prime minister John Howard’s task force on infrastructure may consider taking some dedicated export ports like coal and iron ore facilities out of the domestic competition regulatory system. </p> <p>The government taskforce comprises Abare’s Dr Brian Fischer, Max Moore-Wilton, of Sydney Airport Corporation, and Professor Henry Ergas, of Charles River Associates. </p> <p>The long negotiation between the Dalrymple Bay coal terminal operator Prime Infrastructure and the Queensland Competition Authority over the rate of return Prime could make from the facility has been blamed for delaying investment in the port and lengthening congestion problems there. </p> <p>Taskforce chairman Dr Fischer told the <em>Australian Financial Review</em> that pricing regulations set up to protect users of privately-owned monopoly facilities may not be needed for export-only terminals where there is no flow-on to Australian users. </p> <p>End users and infrastructure operators could strike up their own deals he said, with regulation confined to access for other operators, the newspaper reported today (Tuesday, April 5). </p> <br />