AusRAIL, Market Sectors

PC’s review of competition flags role of shipping, ports

<p>The Productivity Commission’s review of competition policy has called for greater competitive neutrality between different modes of transport &#8211 and highlighted the roles of rail and coastal shipping.</p> <p>The report said that freight and passenger transport reform had been piecemeal and slow, and policies and regulation had tended to favour road over rail and shipping. </p> <p>The report has recommended a review of competitive neutrality across all modes including shipping. </p> <p>The Commission’s report, released yesterday (Thursday, April 14), warned against backsliding in competition reform.</p> <p>It did note, however, that port charges had fallen the furthest of any infrastructure service in the past decade, with drops of between 17% and 52% for container and bulk shipping between 1990 and 2001 &#8211 greater than rail, road freight, telecoms, water, gas, and power. </p> <p>Andrew Williamson, of the Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers, welcomed the inclusion of shipping in a wider review of transport, rather than the more narrow focus on cabotage and the Navigation Act. </p> <p>Australian shipping was more likely to get a larger share of trade if it treated as part of the whole national transport task, he suggested. </p> <p>The commission also got it right in highlighting the immigration and security considerations in the coastal trade, as US law does, he said. </p> <br />