In previous articles 1 on piloting we focused on the critical issues that mark its organization, tariff setting mechanisms and any distortions of competition that are likely to arise from the current regulatory and organizational structure of this service.
In this regard, it should be underlined that a recent ruling of the Regional Administrative Court ("TAR") of Lazio No. 7084/2019 2 on the subject of the self-handling of piloting services has set out some useful principles for legal operators and the companies concerned, confirming, as a matter of fact, the "historical" boundaries of the institution.
Let us say straight away that pilots have gone ahead, being successful in maintaining the monopoly regime governing the service unaltered. We may say, however, that what is "set" can facilitate the opponent's task: once measures are taken, it is indeed up to those at a disadvantage to prove themselves and reverse the result.
Staying with the metaphor, let's recap the highlights of the "first half" of this match between pilots and... the progress of shipping in the light of competition principles:
by an application filed in January 2014, a shipping company asked the Harbour Master of Salerno to issue, for its ships, authorization for the self-handling of piloting services in the port of Salerno. In order to prepare the procedure, the aforementioned Harbour Master asked for an opinion in this regard from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport; by a note dated February 20, 2014 and, subsequently, by a confirmation note dated March 31, 2014, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport excluded the admissibility of the self-handling of the piloting service in the Italian legal system, while providing for the possibility to introduce - by administrative means - personal exemption from pilotage by means of a PEC (Pilot Exemption Certificate) granted to individual captains 3; the applicant operator alleges that the Ministry's opinions, making reference to the «legal monopoly» provided for by the Italian legal system for the operation of the pilotage service, are in conflict with Italian maritime law (and especially with Article 86 of the Italian Civil Code, Article 102 of the Italian Navigation Code and Article 14 of Law 84/1994, and in particular, with Article 14.1-ter and the principles of legality and proportionality, including in the part where it is stated that the system of issuing the PEC is not provided for by the Italian legal...