The Australian Competition and
Consumer Commission (ACCC) has instituted legal proceedings against a
number of former Patrick companies (now owned by either Asciano or
Toll) and a number of former P&O companies (now owned by DP
World) for alleged contraventions of section 45 of the Trade Practices Act 1974.
The ACCC has also instituted legal proceedings against Australian
Amalgamated Terminals Pty Ltd for its involvement in a number of the
The ACCC has also instituted legal proceedings against certain
former senior executives of those companies for allegedly having been
knowingly concerned in the contraventions.
The ACCC alleges that in 2001 P&O and Patrick formed an
agreement to share their motor vehicle wharf facilities around
Australia and to jointly acquire other facilities (First
Agreement). The ACCC alleges that the purpose and likely effect of this
agreement was to substantially lessen competition between the companies
in a number of markets in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide.
The ACCC alleges that in 2002 a further agreement was entered into
between P&O and Patrick, which extended the areas of cooperation
between the companies (Second Agreement).
The ACCC alleges that both agreements sought to fix the prices of
P&O and Patrick for the provision of stevedoring services from
shared facilities, in contravention of section 45 of the TPA.
The ACCC alleges that the agreements were put into effect by P&O
and Patrick in a number of ways during the period 2001 to date,
including by the formation of Australian Amalgamated Terminals.
The ACCC is seeking a range of remedies including:
- pecuniary penalties, and
- orders preventing the companies from continuing to give effect to the allegedly illegal agreements.
A directions hearing has been listed for 20 September before Justice Sackville of the Federal Court, in Sydney.