THE Economic Regulation Authority (ERA) has again extended the time limit for the Brookfield Rail floor and ceiling cost determination this time to June 30.
In a statement released last Wednesday, the ERA said CBH had agreed to the extension in accordance with clause 11(2) of the Railways Access Code 2000 and each part of the process has taken longer than the minimum time specified.
It was in part due to the need to finalise Supreme Court proceedings between CBH and Brookfield, to obtain information and ensure CBH's proposal was accepted as valid, before the ERA process could continue as set out in the rail access process.
As a result the public submission process was extended.
Following that extension (to April 7 for final submissions) and the ERA having received submissions on the floor and ceiling prices, it requested an extension of the time to make a determination so it could appropriately consider all submissions.
CBH operations manager David Capper said in the context of determinations affecting agreements for 10 or more years, a few extra months wasn't a long period of time to wait and CBH would prefer a rapid resolution but not at the cost of an inappropriate determination.
"CBH supported this extension request in order to allow the ERA to properly consider the proposal and submissions," he said.
"CBH welcomes a thorough investigation of the floor and ceiling costs so that WA growers can access the State's rail network efficiently.
"We will continue to work with the ERA and Brookfield to achieve a timely outcome to the determination and negotiation process."
CBH took the bitter grain access dispute with Brookfield Rail to the ERA after the State's primary grain handler accused Brookfield Rail of an unfair access process and crumbling track maintenance standards.
In recent months CBH staff have been quoted as saying it was unlikely that a mutual agreement would be reached given the difference in pricing expectations between the companies.
For a number of years CBH has also proclaimed it couldn't justify entering into an agreement with Brookfield Rail on behalf of WA growers which cost significantly more for access to less tracks with declining performance.
Brookfield rail manages about 5100 kilometres of railway lines in the southern half of WA.