Overview

Every five years, the Essential Services Commission must complete an inquiry into whether the Port of Melbourne has complied with the Victorian Government’s pricing order. We must determine whether any non-compliance was significant and sustained. We must complete this inquiry within six months of the end of the period, 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2021 – in this case, by 31 December 2021. Once we have finished our inquiry, we will report our findings to the Assistant Treasurer.

This inquiry is relevant to the port’s direct and indirect users including Victorian consumers who purchase imported goods. To better understand these matters, you can view the port’s tariff compliance statements for the past five years on our website. There you will also find our interim commentaries that provide guidance to the port and identify potential issues for stakeholders.

We invited your views on the Port of Melbourne’s compliance with the pricing over the past five years over 12 weeks from 10 June to 3 September 2021. Submissions to this project are now closed.

The Port of Melbourne services international and domestic shipping lines carrying cargo in containers and general cargo to and from Melbourne through the Port Phillip Bay.

The Port Management Act 1995 specifies the prescribed services the port provides and that we regulate. A pricing order sets out the requirements for the port when setting prices for prescribed services, such as:

  • how to calculate prices
  • the extent prices can change between years
  • when the port needs to apply to us for variations.

The port charges users in line with the pricing order. This is so the port has a reasonable opportunity to recover efficient costs for providing prescribed services such as:

  • wharfage
  • channel use
  • berth or area hire
  • other ancillary services.

Our engagement process

Our submission period ran over 12 weeks from 10 June to 3 September 2021 via Engage Victoria.

We held a virtual public forum on 15 July 2021 for interested parties on our inquiry process. The slides presented at this forum can be found on our website.

We held one-on-one information sessions from 5 July to 5 August 2021. These sessions allowed interested stakeholders to outline their views on the issues they consider relevant for the five-yearly review and to ask us questions on our process and approach to the review.

Next steps

We will use your feedback and submissions to inform our inquiry’s findings.

We will release a summary of the key themes of our engagement by October 2021, noting we are not able to release confidential or commercially sensitive information.

A draft of the report will be provided to the Port of Melbourne to give them an opportunity to make a written submission on the draft report before the commission prepares its final report on the inquiry.

We will provide a confidential final report to the Assistant Treasurer by 31 December 2021 (consistent with section 45(2) of the Essential Services Commission Act (hyperlink).

Section 45 also provides the process for the public release of the report without the confidential information.

If you have any queries, please email transport@esc.vic.gov.au, or call (03) 9032 1300 or 1300 664 969.

About us

The Essential Services Commission is an independent regulator that promotes the long term interests of Victorian consumers with respect to the price, quality and reliability of essential services. We regulate Victoria’s energy, water and transport sectors, and administer the local government Fair Go Rates system.