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NMa Limits Salvaging Scheme to the Motorway Network

The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has decided to limit the vehicle salvaging scheme to the motorway network and no longer to allow this scheme to apply to the subsidiary road network. The reason for this is that NMa granted an exemption in 1999 subject to the condition that the scheme would also be introduced within a reasonable period for the subsidiary road network. Since this has not taken place, the exemption will no longer apply to the subsidiary road network as of 1 July 2003.

Eight emergency centres cooperate within the foundation, Stichting Incident Management Nederland (SIMN), which implements the salvaging scheme. In each district, they enter into a contract with a salvaging company which carries out the initial salvaging operation. This means that after the salvaging company has received notification from the emergency centre, it immediately goes to clear the road without the police having carried out an on-site assessment of the situation and without checking the registration of the vehicle involved. NMa granted an exemption for this joint venture because it makes it possible to salvage vehicles on both the national motorways (the main road network) and the provincial and municipal roads (the subsidiary road network). This makes it possible to save a considerable amount of time in clearing the road and, as a result, traffic jams and accidents are limited.

Since this salvaging scheme was only introduced on the motorway network in 1999, at the time NMa imposed the condition that SIMN was required to organise the introduction of the salvaging scheme for the subsidiary road network with the road maintenance authorities (provinces and municipalities) and that SIMN was required to report to NMa on this before August 2002. From SIMN's reports, it appears that schemes were only finally arranged for five roads connecting the A12 and the A44. After three-and-a-half years the salvaging scheme for the vast majority of subsidiary roads has not actually been introduced. As a result, NMa is compelled to revoke the exemption granted for the joint implementation of initial salvaging for the subsidiary road network. The partial revocation applies from 1 July 2003 to give SIMN and the salvagers sufficient opportunity to amend their contracts.