Monopoly pricing, derived from market power of Queensland port authorities, can impact on the competitiveness of Queensland's exports and imports and lead to consumers paying unnecessarily high prices for certain goods and services. Given the impact that a port authority's conduct can have on the economy, the purpose of this thesis is to address and answer the following questions: "Do Queensland ports have the potential to exercise market power?" and if so, "what form of regulation, if any, would be applicable"?
Given the complexity and difficulties associated with measuring actual market power, this thesis assesses the potential for market power in Queensland ports. Consequently, the method of analysis adopted is conceptual rather than empirical. The thesis applies the anti-truist market definition and assesses the degree of rivalry and barriers to entry for Queensland's port authorities in order to establish their potential to exercise market power. It is found that conditions exist (ie lack of rivalry and barriers to entry) for many Queensland port authorities which give rise to the potential to exercise market power.
Various forms of regulation both 'light handed' and 'heavy handed' that might apply to Queensland port authorities are then analysed. The thesis concludes by recommending that further research be undertaken to confirm the existence of actual market power. In the event that such research confirms the findings of this thesis, it is recommended that Queensland port authorities responsible for trading ports be declared for monopoly prices oversight with a review of port charges after fives years to ascertain the impact that the regulatory regime has had on the pricing behavior of Queensland ports.