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State Aid

State Aid: Investment in ship lift repairs in the Icelandic Westman Islands cleared



Today, the EFTA Surveillance Authority has concluded that an ISK 370 million investment of the Harbour of the Westman in the repairs of its ship lift does not involve the granting of state aid.

The Authority reaches this conclusion on the basis that the Harbour of the Westman Islands has informed that it will require remuneration for the use of the ship lift that corresponds to market prices and that such charges will be sufficient to cover the associated total costs.

The Harbour of the Westman Islands is operated as a public undertaking. Its infrastructure is an important platform for various maritime related economic activities.

In 2006 a ship lift which had been operated in the harbour since 1982 broke down. After exploring various ways to finance repairs a decision was taken by the Municipality to let the public undertaking, the legal owner of the ship lift, carry the full cost. A decisions was also taken to tender the subsequent operation of the ship lift. After receiving a complaint from a competing ship lift owner, the Authority initiated a preliminary examination of a possible unlawful state aid.

The Authority has assessed the commercial grounds for the decision to repair the ship lift. The Authority emphasises that the operation of the ship lift should not be viewed in isolation from other economic activities of the public undertaking operating the harbour. The Icelandic authorities have explained that the intention is to charge market prices for access to the infrastructure and that the revenues from those charges are forecasted to cover the total costs associated with the operation of the infrastructure in addition to an adequate remuneration for the capital invested in the repairs.

The Authority finds that this sufficiently demonstrates that no advantage will be granted through the remuneration charged for the use of the ship lift. The Authority has therefore concluded that no state aid is involved within the meaning of the EEA Agreement.


For further information, please contact:


Mr Trygve Mellvang-Berg,
Press and Information officer
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 66
mob. (+32(0)492 900 187

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