Mexico‘s Federal Economic Competition Commission (Cofece) preliminarily determined the absence of effective competition in the maritime transportation of passengers and roll-on/roll-off cargo in Baja California Sur.
In this regard, the market is composed of two services.
On the one hand, there is the service of maritime transportation of roll-on/roll-off cargo, which is provided by ferry on routes that link the Mexican mainland with Baja California Sur, in a previously defined route, upon payment of a fee (STMC).
On the other hand, there is the maritime passenger transportation service, which is provided by ferry, in a previously defined route, prior payment of a fare, by virtue of a maritime passenger transportation contract that includes a ticket, in routes that link the Mexican continental massif with Baja California Sur (STMP).
The routes considered for the provision of services that make up this market are the following: Pichilingue-Topolobampo and Pichilingue-Mazatlan (Routes).
The ports related to the routes are: the port of Pichilingue, the port of Topolobampo and the port of Mazatlán, which have infrastructure and buildings for the attention of vessels (Port Facilities) and port and related services (Related Services), which allow STMC and/or STMP suppliers to provide the service from these ports.
Only two companies -in a context of barriers to entry- offer maritime transportation services for roll-on/roll-off cargo on the routes connecting Baja California Sur with Sinaloa, and only one of them provides passenger transportation services.
If the sense of the Preliminary Ruling is confirmed, the regulatory authority of the sector will be able to establish the basis for tariff regulation in the services.
In the investigation, Cofece identified very high levels of concentration in maritime transportation services due to the fact that:
Only two companies (Transportación Marítima de California, S.A. de C.V. and Baja Ferries, S.A.P.I. de C.V.) have offered for several years the maritime transportation service of roll-on/roll-off cargo in both routes connecting Baja California Sur with Sinaloa. In addition, Baja Ferries is the only company that provides maritime passenger transportation on these routes.
There are barriers to entry that make it difficult for more competitors to enter in the future, such as high investment amounts, limits on the participation of foreign capital in shipping companies, and the lack of capacity of the port of Pichilingue to allow new competitors to enter under the same conditions as established companies.