Wheat deal good as gold

THE Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has started consultation on agribusiness GrainCorp’s proposed wheat export terminal access arrangements to the Gladstone Port.

The 2011/12 season is expected to be a bumper harvest and the ACCC has made clear its interest in the performance of terminals using “first in, first served” protocols.

GrainCorp’s proposed undertaking relates to the provision of access to services for the export of bulk wheat at seven grain terminals including Gladstone.

“GrainCorp must have access arrangements in place by October 1, 2011, in order to retain accreditation to export bulk wheat under the Wheat Export Marketing Act 2008,” the ACCC said in a statement.

“The ACCC accepted an access undertaking from GrainCorp on September 29, 2009, for two years until September 30, 2011. GrainCorp has now submitted a proposed access undertaking for the period from October 1, 2011, to September 30, 2014.”

A spokesperson for GrainCorp told The Observer that approximately 160,000 tonnes of wheat is estimated to pass through the Gladstone port from October 1 to September next year.

“What we have submitted to the ACCC is essentially in place at the moment. It’s not due to be renewed until October 2011,” the spokesperson said.

“Because what we submitted to the ACCC is for all intent and purposes the same as the undertaking currently in place and operating we don’t expect any change in operations at the Gladstone terminal.”

GrainCorp’s proposed undertaking includes publication of price and non-price terms for standard services; non-discriminatory access; negotiation of access in good faith; arbitration of access disputes, and publication of key port information.

“The benefit it brings to Gladstone is the people that work at the grain elevator at the port live in Gladstone,” the GrainCorp spokesperson said.

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