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Port of Newcastle ordered to lower charges for Glencore coal shipments

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission determined that the Port of Newcastle Pty. Ltd. should reduce its current charge by about 20%, or 61 Australian cents per gross tonne, for ships entering the port to carry Glencore PLC's coal shipments.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, or ACCC, finalized its arbitration of a dispute between Glencore Coal Assets Australia Pty. Ltd. and Port of Newcastle Operations over the terms and conditions of accessing the latter's "declared" shipping channel service, according to an Oct. 8 news release.

In January 2015, Port of Newcastle increased the charge for coal ships entering the port by about 40% to 69 cents per gross tonne.

Glencore notified the commission of a dispute with Port of Newcastle Operations about the price increase and asked it to arbitrate. Since then, Port of Newcastle Operations has increased the charge to its current price of 76 cents per gross tonne.

In the course of the arbitration, Port of Newcastle submitted to the commission that this year's charge for coal ships entering the port should be increased to A$1.36 per tonne. Glencore submitted the charge should be reduced to 41 cents per gross tonne.

ACCC Commissioner Cristina Cifuentes said, "Port of Newcastle proposed large increases to the current price, but the ACCC found that a reduction in the price for using the shipping channel was appropriate. The ACCC also determined appropriate mechanisms for future price changes, and decided on certain non-price terms and conditions of access where the parties had been unable to reach an agreement."