The European Commission is launching a full investigation into possible public grants to two operators of container terminals in the port of Antwerp, reveals the European Commission in a press release. The operators named are PSA Antwerp and Antwerp Gateway.
The Commission is seeking to determine if the cuts in compensation granted by the port of Antwerp to two operators of container terminals gave them an unfair advantage compared to their competition.
Port authorities initially agreed a minimal tonnage with the two operators. PSA Antwerp and Antwerp Gateway did not respect this requirement between 2009 and 2012, and compensation to port authorities was thus scheduled. But then, these authorities retroactively decided to lower the level of compensation with regards minimal tonnage issues in March 2013. The payment expected from the operators went down by approximately 80%, explains the Commission.
The competition watchdog launched an investigation following a complaint by a competitor. “If the operation did not respect market conditions, it could amount to a public grant as defined by EU regulation,” says the Commission.