Part X of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010

Part X (ten) of theCompetition and Consumer Act 2010 (the Act) regulates international liner shipping of cargo to and from Australia. Liner cargo shipping is generally defined as shipping services operating on a regular trade route, with predetermined and publicly advertised schedules between advertised ports of call.

The main objective of Part X is to ensure that exporters (and to a lesser extent, importers) have continued access to outwards liner cargo shipping services of adequate frequency, capacity and reliability at freight rates which are internationally competitive.

Part X sets up a system for regulating international liner cargo shipping services, which includes:

  • Registration of conference agreements: Liner shipping companies proposing to enter into collaborative arrangements with another shipping company are required to register the agreements
  • Regulation of non-conference ocean carriers with substantial market power: Ocean carriers with a major market share of a trade area are required to be registered
  • Regulation of unfair pricing practices: The Minister may order a liner shipping company not to engage in unfair pricing practices
  • Registration of agents of ocean carriers:Ocean carriers operating services to Australia are required to register an agent based in Australia.

The parties to a conference agreement are required to negotiate with, and provide information to, designated shipper bodies who are registered under Part X. If the conference agreement is registered under Part X, the parties will be given partial and conditional exemptions from cartel conduct, contracts that restrict dealings or affect competition and exclusive dealings.

The Minister has a range of enforcement powers in relation to Part X. Civil or criminal penalties may apply for failure to register correctly under Part X and for undertaking anti-competitive behaviour.

The information provided on this website should be used as guidance material only. Shipping lines involved in international liner shipping should refer directly to the Act and Regulations. It is recommended that independent legal advice be sought. The Registrar of Liner Shipping may be contacted for guidance.

Key references

Contact for Registrar of Liner Shipping

Phone: 1800 005 221
GPO BOX 594, Canberra, ACT, 2601