Industry, Transport & Aviation


Not so long ago, industrial sectors were the supposititious child of the Dutch economy. This has changed with the success of Dutch high-tech companies, including those at Brainport in South-East Netherlands, and the revaluation of the traditional manufacturing industry. Industry is a diverse part of the Dutch economy, from high-tech to commodity. Research by the Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) shows that a large number of industries have an increased risk of classic cartel activity. This plays a particular role in concentrated markets with relatively little dynamics and no or barely any growth. It is precisely in these types of markets that ACM and the European Commission have established infringements of the cartel prohibition and imposed high fines in the past few years. In innovative and more dynamic markets, companies have to deal with other issues, for instance in case they wish to co-operate with other companies. Competition law includes specific rules for cooperative arrangements in the area of specialisation, R&D or marketing. A proper audit beforehand can prevent many problems.


Transportation hubs such as Schiphol Airport and the port of Rotterdam are very important to the Dutch economy. These transportation hubs are a significant driver of the transport and logistics sector. ACM is aware of this and is currently investigating the mainport and transport sector. The transportation hubs are dependent on good road, rail and water connections to the hinterland. Reliable and quick connections are crucial, especially for the transport of perishables. Competition law issues may emerge when there are few alternatives in terms of infrastructure, and discussions arise on the conditions under which infrastructure may be used. There are also traditional risks of competition law violations, such as capacity limitation agreements. Similar issues play a role in relation to publicpassenger transport. Contracting authorities are increasingly opting for multimodal concessions (e.g. bus and tram in one concession). As a result of this, transport providers must cooperate more frequently in order to make a competitive bid. This too can fall under the scope of competition rules.


Due to its international character, the aviation industry has to deal with a range of rules at the level of international treaties, European regulations and national legislation (Dutch Aviation Act). Airlines that fly at Dutch airports such as Schiphol and Eindhoven are increasingly confronted with the consequences of scarcity, fueled by the goverment’s desire to reduce the number of flight movements and influence the destinations to which airlines can fly from Dutch airports. The aviation sector is characterised by sector-specific regulation at European level, such as the Slot Regulation, which provides a framework for the allocation of scarce slots at coordinated airports. Scarcity and public pressure has also lead to stricter enforcement by the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) in the event of slot misuse, resulting in high fines. Furthermore, European airlines and investors must take into account ownership conditions and rules on merger review under Regulation 1008/2008. In addition, airlines are subject to sector-specific consumer protection rules (Regulation 261/2004), which passengers and claims agencies are increasingly making use of.


Diederik Schrijvershof

T +31 20 238 20 03
M +31 6 81 364 318

Martijn van de Hel

T +31 20 238 20 02
M +31 6 21 210 853

Cyriel Ruers

T +31 20 238 20 15
M +31 6 10 257 754