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Comment On Report On Market Power Of Ports

Comment On Ministerial Report On Market Power Of Ports

Issued by Barrie Saunders
Consultant to 13 Port Company Chief Executives
Saunders Unsworth Limited

On the basis of a first read it appears that the Government's consultants, Charles River Associates, have produced a quality report which is balanced and demonstrates the existing law ensures that New Zealand has a competitive port industry.

In their summary Charles River said "We find that the New Zealand ports industry is generally competitive, and that the market power of ports is limited. This conclusion is supported by international benchmarking studies, which show New Zealand ports are comparatively efficient and performing well. "

The fact that the consultants recommended against the government making major change to competition law, and saw a price inquiry by the Commerce Commission as being unnecessary, is a further confirmation of the durability of existing arrangements.

The suggestion that the Alternative Dispute Mechanisms be used in certain circumstances will be examined closely by port companies in the next few weeks. It is noteworthy Charles River advised this option be explored with considerable caution in case it produces more costs than benefits, and in fact suggested the best option might be the status quo.


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