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OECD Competition Assessment Reviews: Portugal

Volume I - Inland and Maritime Transports and Ports

image of OECD Competition Assessment Reviews: Portugal

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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Port and maritime sector

This chapter analyses the port and maritime transport sector in Portugal, proposing regulatory reforms and policy changes to enhance competition and competitiveness in the sector. While main Portuguese ports follow a landlord port management model, which is the predominant model in most OECD countries, national regulations often translate into burdensome concessions, licensing or authorisation regimes that pose unnecessary barriers to entry. There is often room to implement alternative regulations that can be less restrictive to the participation of the private sector in domains such as cargo handling, piloting, towing, port labour companies and shipping agents. With respect to maritime activities outside ports, although most of the legislation is international, there are some unjustified national barriers to competition, for instance, in the public services regime for cabotage in the Portuguese islands. The sector also suffers from administrative burdens and legal uncertainty resulting from obsolete legislation and an unclear legal institutional framework.

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