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Government study targets ports

By Phil Boeyen, ShareChat Business News Editor

Friday 16th November 2001

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The market power of New Zealand's ports is to come under the spotlight in a new government study.

Commerce Minister Paul Swain and Transport Minister Mark Gosche are commissioning a study into the country's ports in response to issues raised in the recent Shipping Industry Review.

The review recommended that the government ask the Commerce Commission to investigate alleged anti-competitive practices and monopoly pricing by port companies.

The Ministers say the study will not involve an in-depth analysis of individual ports' financial performance but will help them to decide if a Commerce Commission inquiry or some other action is needed.

"The study will include consultation with the industry. Comment and information will be sought from ports, port users and other key stakeholders such as unions," says Mr Swain.

The study is expected to begin later this month and take three to four months. It will look such factors as the level of competition between different transport modes and opportunities for abuse of market power by port companies.

Several New Zealand ports are run by listed companies including Northland Port Corporation (NZSE: NTH), Ports of Auckland (NZSE: POA), Port of Tauranga (NZSE: POT), Lyttelton Port Company (NZSE: LPC) and Bluff-based South Port (NZSE: SPN).

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