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Competition: ESA asks for comments on the ferry route Sandefjord - Strömstad




Following the opening of antitrust proceedings by the EFTA Surveillance Authority in March 2015 against the ferry company Color Line AS and the Municipality of Sandefjord the parties have proposed commitments to address the Authority's competition concerns.

Color Line operates a passenger ferry route with tax-free sales between Sandefjord, Norway, and Strömstad, Sweden. Sandefjord Municipality owns and operates Sandefjord inner harbour on a commercial basis, and had a contractual agreement with Color Line on harbour access.

The Authority's preliminary assessment indicates that Color Line and Sandefjord Municipality have prevented other ferry operators from viably entering and expanding on the Sandefjord–Strömstad route. If we find the proposed commitments suited to remove these competition concerns, we may close the case by making those commitments binding on the parties, states Mr. Gjermund Mathisen, Director of the Authority's Competition and State Aid Directorate.

The Authority now invites interested parties to submit comments on the proposed commitments.

In essence, Color Line and Sandefjord have committed to grant another ferry operator, Fjord Line AS, viable sailing times from Sandefjord inner harbour immediately. With effect from 1 January 2020, the sailing times from Sandefjord inner harbour shall be reallocated based on criteria that safeguard competition, equal treatment, and non-discrimination. Also, Fjord Line retains the right to operate its sailing times until 31 December 2025. Sandefjord Municipality shall announce the reallocation of sailing times as from 2020 no later than 1 March 2016 and with 1 September 2016 as deadline for application.

A market test notice summarising the proposed commitments and inviting interested parties to comment on them, is available at the Authority's website and will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and in the EEA Supplement. The deadline for interested parties to submit comments to the Authority is one month from the date of publication in the Official Journal. Comments can be sent by email to:


-          Fact sheet

-          Market test notice concerning Color Line

-          Market test notice concerning Sandefjord Municipality

-          Commitments offered by Color Line AS

-          Commitments offered by Sandefjord Municipality

For further information, please contact:

Mr. Gjermund Mathisen
mob. (+32)(0)491 86 32 57

Other EEA Institutions

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