Expert Committee Considering the Port Act

Creation date: 11 June 2018

In future, the large municipal self-governing ports are to be organized in two joint stock companies. One company to handle the port infrastructure and one company to handle commercial activities. At least this is the opinion held by an expert committee which was set up by the Minister for Transport, Building and Housing, Ole Birk Olesen in 2017, with the purpose of revising the Port Act.

The expert committee, which recently submitted its recommendation, has focused on the need for fair and equal competition between public and private companies in the port sector, and in addition there must be clear rules for the relationship between municipalities, ports and private companies in the ports. Furthermore, this must follow the EU state subsidy rules in the port area.

A unanimous expert committee consisting of experts in law, economics, state subsidy rules etc. as well as representatives of the ports and the private companies at the ports, recommends that the major publicly owned commercial ports will be organized in two joint stock companies. Small ports should, however, continue as municipal ports under more flexible rules.

One of the joint stock companies should handle public tasks relating to port infrastructure, such as port areas with tracks, roads, berths, quay walls, piers and covering works, inner docks, etc. The other joint stock company – a suprastructure joint stock company – should handle warehouses, terminal buildings, cranes, mobile equipment for delivery of transport-related port services, etc. The expert committee suggests arm’s length conditions for interaction between the two types of companies.

According to the expert committee, such a division will counteract the risk of cross-subsidization between publicly supported activities and commercial activities.

To strengthen the private players in the ports, the expert committee recommends that a supervisory and complaints body be established with effective sanction powers.

The government will discuss the expert committee's recommendation. It is then expected that the government will prepare a proposal for revision of the current Port Act, and the work of the expert committee is expected to be included in this revision. The proposal for a new Port Act will then be submitted to the ministry.

 

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