Working group: An open pilotage market requires effective supervision

News article 11.02.2011 12.15 fi sv en

There are no legislative obstacles to opening pilotage activities to competition, but the market situation in Finland poses challenges in terms of practical implementation, concludes a working group on pilotage in its final report.

On 23 April 2010, the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications appointed a working group to thoroughly explore different alternatives for organising pilotage activities and to assess the benefits and adverse effects of each alternative. As its focus, the working group had three different models: pilotage monopoly, competitive tendering at the regional level, and open competition.

Comparison of the operating models was conducted on the basis of factors having an effect on the launch of pilotage activities, the development of competition, and safety, among others. The working group also examined the economic implications of each model.

The working group concludes that competition is likely to develop in the field, and that open competition could promote the availability of reasonably priced pilotage services also in areas with lower demand. Ports along with tugboat and fairway service companies, for instance, might be interested in extending their service provision to pilotage.

A shift from the current model based on one state-owned company to several service providers operating on market terms would stress the importance of official supervision to guarantee the safety of services.

In addition to the above alternatives, the working group concludes that it might be useful to consider regionally different operating models. Pilotage services could be organised on the basis of demand in the area concerned, for example.

The working group further states that when English will be accepted as a language in the so-called route pilotage from July 2011 onwards, it is likely that demand for pilotage will decrease. It is also a step towards open competition.