The European Commission is investigating alleged state aid to two container terminal operators at the port of Antwerp, it was announced on Friday.
Concession agreements for PSA Antwerp and Antwerp Gateway contained a requirement for the handling of a minimum tonnage. The two did not reach this between 2009 and 2012, meaning they should have paid compensation to the publicly-owned port authority.
However, the Antwerp Port Authority decided in 2013 to reduce the minimum tonnage retroactively, reducing the compensation to be paid by some 80%, according to po.
Having received a complaint from a competing port the commission decided to open an investigation looking at whether the move by Antwerp port represents state aid. Competition among North European container ports is among the most fierce in the world.