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A test for the misuse of market power amendment

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has commenced proceedings against the Tasmanian Ports Corporation (TasPorts), its first case to be tried under the amended misuse of market power provisions.

The ACCC alleges that TasPorts sought to prevent Engage Marine Tasmania from coming to the market.

In an official statement earlier this week, the regulator said that:

The ACCC alleges that TasPorts prevented Engage Marine from expanding in Tasmania by failing to provide long term berths for its tugboats and refusing to place Engage Marine on the shipping schedule, which is necessary for it to provide towage services.

According to the ACCC, TasPorts further demanded that the new entrant’s sole customer pay $750,000 in port fees per year after that customer stopped contracting with TasPorts.

The statement continued that:

TasPorts' conduct has prevented or hindered Engage Marine from competing or effectively competing in the relevant markets. TasPorts' conduct has substantially lessened competition in the relevant markets and denied Grange and other Tasmanian customers the benefits of competition in the supply of marine services, including in relation to the price and quality of those services.

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