ACCC clears joint venture between Patrick and ACFS

Competition will not suffer from partnership between Patrick and Australian Container Freight Services.

ACCC clears joint venture between Patrick and ACFS
The ACCC says the venture between ACFS and Patrick will not hamper rival wharf cartage providers.


Wharf cartage operators will not suffer from a joint venture between Patrick Container Ports and Australian Container freight Services (ACFS), the competition regulator has ruled.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will not stand in the way of the proposed 50/50 partnership between the two companies to combine their wharf cartage, warehousing and distribution and empty container parks services.

Patrick and ACFS both supply container transport and warehousing and distribution services in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, and both also have interests in empty container parks in Sydney. ACFS is also due to begin operations in Fremantle and compete with Patrick.

The ACCC claims the joint venture is unlikely to give Patrick’s terminals division greater incentive to favour it at the expense of rival wharf cartage providers.

"Patrick Terminals was already vertically integrated prior to the joint venture and the joint venture was unlikely to substantially alter its incentives," the ACCC says.

"The joint venture would be one of the largest providers of each service in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Fremantle."

"However, the ACCC determined that, following the joint venture, Patrick and ACFS would continue to face strong competition from a number of alternative providers (including Qube, Toll Extra, Swift, Chalmers and others)."

ACCC commissioner Dr Jill Walker says the ACCC conducted inquiries with a number of stakeholders and focused on competition in the supply of wharf cartage services.

"We also considered the potential for any of Patrick’s container terminals to be operated in a way which disadvantaged the joint venture’s competitors," Walker says.

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