Most companies that are active in the Dutch ports and in port-related markets say they comply with the rules on fair competition. Yet, smaller companies in particular do not know the rules very well. Among larger companies, awareness of the competition rules is better. This has been revealed by a study conducted by VU Amsterdam University into the willingness to comply among companies that are active in the Dutch ports and in port-related markets. The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM), together with various Dutch organizations (including trade associations), will continue to work on improving awareness of the competition rules among all companies.
The ports and transport sector
Over the past few years, the ports and transport sector has been one of the topics on ACM’s Agenda. ACM’s focus was on expanding the sector’s awareness of the competition rules, in addition to enforcement actions in the sector. If businesses know the competition rules, and find them important, they will be more likely to comply with them.
In collaboration with port operators and trade associations in the Dutch ports, ACM has drawn attention to the competition rules. Various educational activities have been undertaken in order to increase the awareness of the competition rules in Dutch ports. Unfortunately, compared with 2016, this increase has been limited. That is a troubling sign, particularly given the enormous significance of this part of the Dutch economy.
Knowledge of and compliance with competition rules
Last year, ACM published a similar study in the level of compliance with the competition rules among all businesses in the Netherlands. It revealed that, in the Netherlands, smaller businesses often know too little about the competition rules. At the same time, small and medium-sized businesses, too, are obviously expected to know the rules and regulations. However, ACM provides information in order to make it easier for businesses to do so. In that context, ACM last year launched a national awareness campaign ‘Stop cartels. Prevent a fine’, which targeted small and medium-sized businesses in particular. ACM will continue with this campaign. By providing information about and explaining the rules, ACM promotes compliance with those rules, thereby ensuring that markets continue to work well for people and businesses.