Co-operative Bulk Handling's push for a long-term network access deal with Brookfield Rail could suffer a setback after both sides gave the State's economic regulator more time to consider public submissions on Brookfield's proposed charges.
Complaining that WA grain growers were paying the highest grain haulage rates in the country, CBH last month launched a formal process for access under the Economic Regulation Authority-governed Railway Access code after direct negotiations failed to reach an agreement.
The ERA said yesterday Brookfield had handed over its proposed floor and ceiling prices for CBH access but added both parties had waived the usual 30-day period for the ERA to either approve the rates or re-determine them until March 7.
That could mean the statutory 90-day negotiation period could run over the June expiry date of the existing haulage agreement.
CBH has so far hauled about 1.2 million tonnes of this season's record 15.7mt WA harvest by rail, and wants to expand its access in the future.