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Dalrymple Bay Infrastructure has welcomed a Queensland Competition Authority move which will allow it to change the way it charges coal terminal users.

The QCA had confirmed a ‘light-handed’ regulatory framework to commence from expiry of the current access undertaking mid-year and run for five years until the next review date, the company said.

This would allow DBI to negotiate commercial price-setting arrangements (tariffs) directly with customers, rather than continue to be bound to a single reference tariff set by the QCA.

“We welcome the decision from the Queensland Competition Authority regarding the Access Undertaking and will implement the required changes to enable the orderly transition to a ‘negotiate-arbitrate’ pricing framework that better aligns with that used at other Queensland coal export terminals,” DBI managing director and chief executive officer Anthony Timbrell said.

“Australia is forecast to remain the largest exporter of high-grade metallurgical coal, with Dalrymple Bay Infrastructure delivering more than 30 per cent of Queensland’s coal exports to 25 countries.

“Moving towards a commercial price setting framework will allow us to agree tariffs with individual customers that better reflect their needs and the value we provide to them, while supporting local jobs and investment in the region.”

“Our 100 per cent take-or-pay contracts, in place until 2028, combined with a light-handed approach to regulation will allow Dalrymple Bay Infrastructure to continue to deliver consistent and predictable cashflows and a growing dividend over time while still maintaining its investment grade balance sheet.”

The QCA decision requires DBI to implement some amendments to its originally proposed access undertaking submitted to the QCA in mid-2019 and which has been extensively consulted upon since that date.

DBI said it intended to formally implement the required changes and resubmit its final access undertaking.

The QCA is then expected to formally approve the undertaking, without the need for further consultation, prior to the commencement of the new regulatory period.

The Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal business listed on the stock exchange in December with a market value of more than $1.2 billion.

Dalrymple Bay Infrastructure management recently lodged paperwork in the Federal environmental approval process for its ‘8x expansion project’.

The  four-stage expansion would lift capacity at the Mackay district coal terminal to almost 100 million tonnes per annum.