HH Ferries' ship Hamlet arrives at Helsingborg. Photo: HH Ferries
HH Ferries Group claims that the cost of the controls, which it estimates at 100,000 Danish kroner ($14,000) a day, will not be born by the operator of the Öresund Bridge, its major competitor.
It is reporting Sweden to the European Commission for violating competition rules, arguing that the Öresund Bridge Consortium, a joint venture partly owned by the Swedish government, was being given preferential treatment.
“Motorists who use the Öresund Bridge will be checked for the first time when they arrive in Sweden, and that will be done by the Swedish authorities,” Henrik Rørbæk, the company’s chief executive, told Sweden’s TT newswire.
HH Ferries announced its move a day after the Danish train company DSB threatened to levy a supplementary charge on passengers travelling to Sweden to cover the costs of the ID checks, which come into force on January 4th.
Sweden announced in November that it would require transport companies operating trains and ferries to the Nordic country from Denmark to carry out ID checks on all customers crossing into Sweden, as part of efforts to limit the number of refugees heading north.
Sweden's infrastructure minister Anna Johansson rejected the claim that Sweden was favouring its own bridge company .
“We do not share HH ferries' analysis that the act will give rise to unfair competition,” she said in an email to The Local. “If and when HH Ferries' complaint reaches the European Commission it is up to them to examine it.”
Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen has been highly critical of the Swedish plan, calling it “a very unfortunate situation” which would endanger the billions spent on building infrastructure and carrying out marketing to create a connected cross-border Oresund Region linking Malmö and Copenhagen.
According to Denmark’s TV2 broadcaster, HH Ferries has hired a private security company to carry out the ID checks.
HH Ferries operates the ferry link between Helsingør and Helsingborg, the shortest distance across the Oresund, the narrow sound separating Sweden and Denmark.
It is also reporting the Swedish government to the commission for infringing the Schengen border agreement.
The company is owned by First State Investments, an Australian infrastructure fund.