Ruling by the District Court of Rotterdam in the Dutch Railways NS case
On 27 June 2019, the District Court of Rotterdam ruled in the case concerning the fine imposed by the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) on Dutch Railways NS.
NS had lodged an appeal against this fine with the District Court of Rotterdam. The Court’s view on the case differs from ACM’s view. One of the assertions the Court considers not proven is that NS has a dominant position on the main rail network. Therefore, NS could not have abused its dominant position in the tender process for the regional public-transport contract in the province of Limburg.
ACM is analyzing the ruling, and will then determine any further steps to take.
In 2017, ACM ruled that NS had abused its dominant economic position in the tender process for the regional public-transport contract in the province of Limburg. For this conduct, ACM imposed a fine of 40,950,000 euro on NS in 2017.
Over the past few years, tender processes for regional public-transport contracts have increased the number of railway passengers, and have improved railway services. These improvements benefit passengers. In those segments of the railway sector where the government has allowed competition, competition should be fair and unrestricted. ACM ensures that the railway market functions well for people and businesses. With its decision on the tender process in Limburg, ACM intended to help ensure fair competition in the railway market.