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Investigation Into Tranz Rail Cook Strait Pricing


December 12, 2000


A detailed investigation into Tranz Rail’s Cook Strait pricing policies is to be conducted by the Commerce Commission as a result of complaints lodged by Road Transport Forum NZ and the demise of fast ferry Top Cat.

Forum chief executive Tony Friedlander was advised by the commission today that a full investigation would be carried out into Forum concerns that Tranz Rail had used its dominance to drive Top Cat out and is exploiting its near monopoly in the Cook Strait roll-on roll-off market. It could take up to several months.

“We welcome the Commerce Commission decision and look forward to the outcome of its investigations.”

Mr Friedlander said Tranz Rail had displayed all the signs of a virtual monopoly since Top Cat left the market, being unrestrained by competition.

“At the busiest time of the year, the company is reducing its freight capacity by withdrawing the Arahanga, thereby significantly increasing the productivity of its other ships and reducing its unit costs. This means that freight rates should have gone down, but instead they have been increased by up to 100 percent.”

Mr Friedlander said Tranz Rail now effectively had its own toll booth on what is an important section of State Highway One, holding the New Zealand freight distribution system to ransom.

“This is a very serious matter for the whole New Zealand economy, but especially those South Island businesses which are already struggling to meet higher transport costs. It is encouraging to see the commission move to confront this totally unacceptable behaviour.”


Details: Tony Friedlander Ph 025 483 163

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