International Liner Cargo Shipping (2005)
This public inquiry has concluded. The final inquiry report was released by the Australian Government on 5 October 2005.
The Productivity Commission was asked to inquire and report within six months on Part X of the Trade Practices Act 1974 and associated regulations. This legislative framework provides an industry-specific regulatory regime for the operation of international liner cargo shipping in Australia.
Under it, the providers of liner cargo shipping services to Australian exporters and importers are permitted to cooperate and form conferences for the provision of those services. Through compliance under Part X, providers are exempt from some general provisions of the Trade Practices Act which would otherwise apply to such anti-competitive arrangements. The inquiry was undertaken in accordance with the Australian Government's Legislation Review Schedule.
The Commission was to report on appropriate arrangements for the regulation of international liner cargo shipping services. It was to take into account, inter alia, that legislation/regulation should be retained only if the benefits to the community as a whole outweigh the costs and the objectives of the legislation/regulation cannot be achieved more efficiently through other means, including non-legislative approaches.
It was also to have regard to the Australian Government's analytical requirements for the assessment of regulation and to the technological and institutional changes in the international liner shipping market that have occurred since the industry was last reviewed in 1999. The Commission was specifically asked to report on a number of matters, including:
- rationale for Part X and how appropriate Part X is in addressing that rationale
- alternatives to Part X, including the use of authorisation under Part VII and non-legislative approaches, and the extent to which these would achieve the rationale for Part X
- to quantify, as far as practicable, the effects of Part X and of the alternatives to Part X
- if it is considered that Part X should be retained, to examine possible mechanisms for increasing overall efficiency.