THE government is looking at the ‘monopoly’ that exists in the freight sector, according to the Economic Development Minister.
But Deputy Kirsten Morel said it was ‘very difficult’ to introduce competition to the market.
The minister was commenting following the release of the Jersey Competition Regulatory Authority’s Grocery Market Study, which highlighted the higher costs faced by Island shoppers compared to the UK.
He said: ‘We are concerned as a government about the cost of living in this Island. Costs have to be passed on. The point is to try and reduce them and make the Harbour a more efficient flow of goods, as Ports of Jersey is aiming to do.
‘That will reduce the costs of bringing goods into the Island in the first place.’
Deputy Morel added: ‘We appreciate that there is a monopoly in the freight market, something we are looking at, but it’s very difficult to introduce competition because the government does not run private businesses. But we are looking at ways to develop the freight market.
‘It is not as simple as introducing competition to the freight market. It is important to note that when you bring competition into the freight market, it is possible that you create smaller players that have higher prices.’
The minister said the government had developed a Ports Policy Group and that Ports of Jersey had submitted a planning application ‘to change the way goods are despatched around the Island, promoting greater efficiency’.
He added that ‘looking toward diversifying our supply routes’ is another option.
‘I’ve made it very clear since I’ve been elected that I want to introduce a southern freight route, and that would introduce competition into the freight market. We are working toward that. Along with the southern freight route, you get the potential to have supermarket competition from Europe,’ said Deputy Morel.