A541 - ICA: fine of nearly 4 million euro imposed on Caronte & Tourist for excessive ferry fares across the Strait of Messina


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According to the Authority, the company abused its dominant position in the transport of passengers with vehicles by charging excessively high fares for consumers

The Italian Competition Authority has imposed a fine of more than 3.7 million euro on Caronte & Tourist S.p.A. The Authority found that C&T - which holds an unconditional dominant position in the Strait of Messina's ferry services for passengers with vehicles - has exploited its market power to charge unjustifiably high prices to consumers.

The excessiveness analysis was carried out by applying a two-step test: the investigation found that the fares charged by C&T to passengers with vehicles are disproportionate to the costs incurred (excessiveness), and that this disproportion is unreasonable in relation to the economic value of the service provided (unfairness).

Various tests were used for the assessment of excessiveness, all providing unequivocal results: there is a significant disproportion between the revenues and costs of C&T in the provision of ferry services for passengers with vehicles.

Prices are also unfair, that is, unreasonably disproportionate compared to international benchmarks. Indeed, C&T charges much higher fares than operators active on comparable routes, which also offer much more advanced services. The price difference compared to the benchmark is therefore not justified by the quality of the service offered: C&T’s fleet is characterised by a very high average age (27 years), and the ferry service is considered poor by most users.

According to the Italian Competition Authority, this is a serious competition offence also considering the geographical area concerned, i.e. the Strait of Messina; the economic power of C&T; and the type of service provided, which is essential for the approximately 10 million people who every year - regularly or only in the summer - need to cross the Strait of Messina with their own car.

Rome, 12 April 2022