Competition Commission has slapped a fine of Rs 19.07 crore on South Asia LPG Company Pvt Ltd (SALPG) for abusing its dominant position with respect to providing terminalling services at Visakhapatnam port.
The case pertains to access to upstream LPG terminalling infrastructure at Vishakhapatnam port and the infrastructure, being operated by SALPG, used for handling imports of propane and butane and their blending into LPG.
East India Petroleum Pvt Ltd had alleged that while allowing to use the blender, SALPG has been insisting on mandatory use of cavern, which resulted in paying significant charges. Besides, it was alleged that various activities of the company were abuse of dominant position.
After a detailed investigation, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) found that SALPG enjoys dominant position in the market for upstream terminalling services at Visakhapatnam port, according to an official release.
Generally, terminalling refers to handling of raw materials, among others.
While SALPG sought to justify its conduct on the grounds of safety as well as efficiency and business justification, the CCI said the company's conduct was in violation of competition norms.
Subsequently, the watchdog has slapped a fine of Rs 19.07 crore on SALPG for indulging in anti-competitive conduct, the release said.
As per the release, the company has been directed not to insist on mandatory use of its cavern and should allow bypass of cavern for both pre-mixed and blended LPG without any restrictions.
"SALPG shall allow access to its competitors, potential as well as existing, to the terminalling infrastructure at Visakhapatnam port, subject to compliance with all safety integrity and other requirements...," it said.
The regulator said such an access should avoid additional cost burden on SALPG, and the entity seeking access should bear the cost, if any, towards necessary changes to the existing infrastructure.
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