NMa warns: the Competition Act applies to everyone, including the Dutch inland-shipping industry
The Crisis Committee Inland Shipping (in Dutch: Crisisberaad Binnenvaart), an initiative of several Dutch inland-shipping trade organizations, has presented its plan to navigate the inland-shipping industry through the current economic crisis. The plan suggests temporarily withdrawing dry-bulk and container overcapacity from the market – including freighters that, for example, carry electronic goods, clothes and beer – thereby reducing supply. In a reaction to this plan, the Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) points out that the abovementioned suggestion may negatively affect competition in the industry, as well as the price mechanism therein. The NMa has not yet assessed the plan in its entirety, but indicates that, having glanced through the plan, it would fail to meet the requirements of the Competition Act.
Pieter Kalbfleisch, chairman of the Board of the NMa, reacts:'Measures such as government aid, or restricting competition, even temporary restriction, may provide some relief from the crisis for suppliers, but will, in the short run, also have negative effects on the Dutch economy, and, by extension, also on Dutch consumers. The economic crisis is neither an excuse nor a license to enter cartel agreements. These would only slow down economic recovery, and would thus only aggravate the consumer's dire economic situation.'