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Dutch town of Heerhugowaard to include all costs in berth tariffs

The Dutch municipality of Heerhugowaard is still competing unfairly with commercial marinas and berths. In January 2016, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) announced that the berth tariffs that the municipality of Heerhugowaard charges are too low. Although the municipality recently set higher berth tariffs, these new tariffs still do not include all costs. According to ACM, the municipality’s operating costs are higher than its revenues. This is not allowed under the Dutch law on competitive neutrality, the Dutch Act on Government and Free Markets. ACM grants the municipality of Heerhugowaard another twelve weeks for adjusting the berth tariffs. Should the municipality fail to do so, they will be imposed an order subject to periodic penalty payments.

Chris Fonteijn, Chairman of the Board of ACM, adds: “Municipalities are not to distort competition with businesses. This municipality, however, continues to do so by not including all costs in its berth tariffs.”

The Dutch Act on Government and Free Markets

Government organizations are allowed to offer products and services on the market. If they do, they will have to play by the rules though. Those rules are to protect commercial businesses against unfair competition by government organizations. For example, the Dutch Act on Government and Free Markets mandates that all municipalities include in their tariffs all costs associated with offering their products or services.