Port operations


What government approvals are required in your jurisdiction for a port operator to commence operations following construction? How long does it typically take to obtain approvals?

A port operator will require various approvals, including general business licences depending on the nature of the business, which should be fairly quick and easy to obtain.

Typical services

What services does a port operator and what services does the port authority typically provide in your jurisdiction? Do the port authorities typically charge the port operator for any services?

The distinction between a port operator and port authority is not necessarily very clear in Denmark as it is very often the same party; however, it follows from the five different organisational structures being subject to different requirements and varying degrees of operational freedom (see question 2) that, depending on the chosen structure, some activities and services must be outsourced to independent operators.

A port organised as a private limited company is a commercial business, which is not limited in the way it operates its business. As such, there is no difference in what the port itself and a private company operating on the port may do.

In regard to a port organised as a municipal port or a primate limited company wholly or partly owned by a municipality (these being the two main organisation forms being used by publicly owned commercial ports); the port provides the infrastructure while other private operators handle commercial activities at the port. Only where the private operators are not interested in providing a certain service may the public port operator provide such service themselves after observation of the duty to advertise (see question 15). The contemplated new Danish law on ports will likely further support this division in order to prevent what is being referred to as ‘public theft of services’.

On the charging of fees; if specific operators rent buildings or land in the port they will pay the port authority accordingly, but otherwise they will not normally pay the port authority for any services.

Access to hinterland

Does the government or relevant port authority typically give any commitments in relation to access to the hinterland? To what extent does it require the operator to finance development of access routes or interconnections?

Hinterland access is a public service obligation, so is not normally something that is financed by the operator. The extent of such access will likely be an element of discussion in connection with the application to establish a new port.


How do port authorities in your jurisdiction oversee terminal operations and in what circumstances may a port authority require the operator to suspend them?

This depends on the specific agreement between the port and the terminal operator. Unless it is specifically described in the agreement, there is no general right for the port to demand suspension. The government may shut down operations due to general safety concerns.

Port access and control

In what circumstances may the port authorities in your jurisdiction access the port area or take over port operations?

Various governmental authorities may demand access to perform inspections. There is no specific legislation regarding the taking over of port operations.

Failure to operate and maintain

What remedies are available to the port authority or government against a port operator that fails to operate and maintain the port as agreed?

As Danish ports are not normally operated under concessions, the government is limited in the options it can take against ports not being operated to a sufficient standard. Normal Danish civil law rules will apply to any contracts entered into between the parties.

The licence to operate the port may contain certain conditions and it may be possible to revoke such licence if the conditions are not met, but it will completely depend on the terms of such specific licence.

Transferrable assets

What assets must port operators transfer to the relevant port authority on termination of a concession? Must port authorities pay any compensation for transferred assets?

Ports are usually not operated under concessions.