The Port of Newcastle in Australia has lodged an appeal in the federal court against Glencore to maintain control over fees for gaining access to the port.

In 2014, the New South Wales government privatised the Port of Newcastle as part of a joint venture (JV) between Hastings Fund Management and China Merchants.

After privatisation, port fees were increased by the JV between 40% and 60% for vessels accessing the shipping channel.

Following this, Glencore unsuccessfully approached the federal government to get the fees reduced. Glencore then appealed to the Australian Competition Tribunal, which ruled in its favour and prompted the Port of Newcastle to launch an appeal against the decision.  

"The matter raised important issues for infrastructure operators and their customers."

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chairman Rod Sims criticised the privatisation of government assets, warning it was damaging the country’s economy.

A Port of Newcastle spokesman was reported by the Guardian as saying: "The matter raised important issues for infrastructure operators and their customers.”

“Port of Newcastle is seeking judicial review via the full federal court of the decision of the Australian Competition Tribunal to declare the service provided by the shipping channel in the Port of Newcastle.”

Glencore previously argued before the Australian Competition Tribunal that the rise in fees would have impact on the profit margins of coal producing companies.