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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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Road sector

This chapter focuses on the road transport sector in Portugal, the most frequently used means of transportation. The chapter proposes regulatory changes and policy reforms to foster competition. Whilst most of the legislation is convened at the EU level, there are unjustified national barriers to competition. Among these are minimum capital requirements imposed on passenger and freight operators to start a business and licensing for freight operators operating solely with light trucks. Even though secondary legislation is pending to promote liberalisation, long-distance buses are still heavily regulated in terms of entry and price restrictions, and competition amongst taxis is hampered by quantitative and fare regulations. With respect to ancillary services, geographical barriers were identified in driving schools and vehicle inspection centres, in addition to price regulation in the latter. Lifting the identified barriers would increase consumer benefits up to EUR 201.42 million a year with gains for companies from reinvesting one-off savings of up to EUR 27.26 million.

English

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