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OECD Competition Assessment Reviews: Portugal

Volume I - Inland and Maritime Transports and Ports

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Portugal’s services markets remain among the most heavily regulated in the OECD. Inland and maritime transports in Portugal are a vital part of the business environment, ensuring the movement of goods and passengers and inputs for the business sector. Regulatory restrictions limit the ability of firms to effectively compete in the markets, whether as providers or customers, while hampering innovation, efficiency and productivity. Against this backdrop, this report analyses Portuguese regulations for road, railway and maritime transport, and many ancillary services (such as vehicle inspection centres), as well as Portugal’s ports. The report examines 1 064 pieces of legislation and makes 417 individual recommendations for amending or removing restrictive provisions to improve competition, and makes a detailed inventory of the analysis underlying the work. Analysis of Portuguese legislation was complemented by research into international experiences and wide consultations with public and private sector stakeholders. The OECD recommendations aim to remove or modify the provisions to benefit businesses and consumers alike. This report identifies the sources of those benefits and gives estimates of their impact. Provided all recommendations are fully implemented, the benefit to the economy from lifting the barriers in the land and maritime transport sectors is estimated to be around EUR 250 million a year.

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Overview of the transport sector

The transport sector plays an important role in the Portuguese economy, representing 4.3% of the gross domestic product and employing around 155 000 people. Among the several modes of transportation, road transport accounts for the vast majority of the movements of passengers and freight. Maritime transport also has an important role in the movement of freight, promoting international trade and guaranteeing the connection between the mainland and the Portuguese islands. Rail transport is primarily used by passengers for national routes, as it is constrained by the small size of the railway network in the country. This section provides an economic overview of the transport sector in Portugal and identifies the main Portuguese institutions responsible for issuing national regulations, including ministries, general directorates and public institutes. It also discusses certain barriers to competition that are transversal to all modes of transportation, in particular those related to public procurement rules and fees set by administrative bodies.

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