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20 January 2019 The on-line newspaper devoted to the world of transports 22:38 GMT+1



December 28, 2018

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The Spanish Antitrust exhorts the government of Madrid to liberalize the market of the harbour services

The CNMC has evidenced that "reserve of flag" is a protezionistica measure "and dissatisfies to the right of the European Union"

The Spanish Authority Antitrust has exhorted the government of Madrid to open the domestic market of the harbour services to the ships that do not fly Spanish flag. In particular, today the Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y Competencia (CNMC) has recommended the executive to eliminate the famous measure as "flag reserve" that allows with the sun ships of Spanish flag the access to the development of harbour services as the mooring and towing activities, measure - it has emphasized the CNMC - that is "protezionistica and contrary to the right of the European Union". Moreover the Antitrust has evidenced that the management of these activities "is mainly in the society hands monopolists that apply elevated rates excessive".

Answering to a demand for seeming on the institution of a reserve of flag in the supply of harbour services that is introduced by the Instituto Nacional de Marina, organism that is under responsibility al Ministero of the Job, the Authority Antitrust has published a relation in which it finds that for decades the field of the harbour services quickly has an intense international competition by ships recorded in other nations and that flag reserve is a protezionistica measure that is used in the past as reaction to that international competition. The measure previews that only the ships recorded in a nation, in this case in Spain, can approach the supply of technical-nautical services as the pilotage, the towing and the mooring.

In the report the specific CNMC that is demonstrated that this type of measure ends for being ineffective and generates conflict in international the commercial relations. Moreover, emphasizing that the good operation of the harbour services is a fundamental element of the international commerce that mainly is carried out by the marine transport, the Antitrust restates that "to limit the supply of harbour services to the sun ships under the Spanish flag it involves strong restrictions to the competition", than the measure, "prohibiting the foreign ship access, hinders the income of new societies that could introduce efficiency and innovation in the field" and that "it strengthens the power of the companies that are already on the market, usually in a monopoly regime. In this way - the CNMC observes in the report - the risk of elevated rates increases more and than a smaller quality of the service".

Moreover the Antitrust has found that the fact that flag reserve is demanded by the owners of societies that currently operate in the field and that it coincides with the threat of income in the market of international companies, especially in the field of the tugs, increases the risk of "regulatory capture": this means - it has explained the CNMC - than the measure goes for the benefit of the societies currently anticipates on the market and it does not go for the benefit of the general interest.

Moreover the Spanish Antitrust has remembered that recently the European Union has approved of the regulations 2017/352 that institute a normative picture for the supply of harbour services and common norms in transparency matter financial institution of the ports, legislation that is introduced at the beginning of 2017(on 23 January 2017) and that it aimed to improve the harbour services and to eliminate the useless restrictions that they affect its operation.

"The communitarian legislation - it has specified the CNMC - does not liberalize this market completely, but it alludes to a situation of "restricted competition". In this way, it is allowed the free performance of services harbour, with exceptions many detailed lists for determined reasons of public interest and subject to supervision. Flag reserve - it has explained the Antitrust - is authorized exceptionally and to very rigorous conditions: the measure must be "necessary" in order to guarantee "the full respect of the obligations in social and working field"; it cannot be a discriminatory decision and it must be based on transparent and objective motivations and not create disproportionate trade barriers; the decision must be notified to the Commission before being adopted; and it seems to be addressed in particular to the mooring and towing services".

The Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y the Competencia has concluded explaining that, regarding the demand for seeming introduced from the Instituto Nacional de Marina, it considers that such conditions not sussistano and that the measure of flag reserve is not in compliance with the principles of the good regulation (necessity and proportionality). Therefore the Antitrust considers that he is more reasonable to proceed towards a liberalization of the harbour services in order to obtain an increase of the competition, the efficiency, the innovation and the well-being of the citizens.

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