‘Gateway Basel Nord should have involved Swissterminal’
The construction of the Swiss new mega terminal Gateway Basel Nord is likely to be further delayed with a recent verdict of the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland. In its decision of 21 January 2020, it upheld an appeal from Swissterminal, finding that Schweizerische Rheinhäfen (Swiss Rhine Ports) ‘violated the rights of Swissterminal’. With this decision, the Federal Supreme Court overturned the decision of the lower Basel-Landschaft Cantonal Court.
According to Swissterminal, which has opposed the construction of the terminal from the beginning, the public-law body Swiss Rhine Ports decided to move forward with the project without issuing a public tender. “Swiss Rhine Ports operates the ports along the Rhine river in Basel and is owned by the Swiss cantons Basel-Landschaft and Basel-Stadt. At the same time, it refused to allow private company Swissterminal AG the right to issue an appealable decision to waive the tenders”, the company argued.
Swissterminal is currently also active on the Rhine river in Kleinhueningen but will lose the right to operate its facility with end of its lease in 2029. The company lodged a formal complaint against this decision. However, in its decision of 20 February 2019, the Cantonal Court of Basel-Landschaft dismissed Swissterminal’s complaint.
In response, Swissterminal filed an appeal to the Federal Supreme Court. In its decision of 21 January 2020, the Federal Supreme Court overturned the decision of the Cantonal Court, ordering Swiss Rhine Ports to respond to Swissterminal’s request. Additionally, the Cantonal Court of Basel- Landschaft was obliged by the Federal Supreme Court to redefine the cost and compensation consequences in connection with its judgment in February 2019, which were then determined at the expense of Swissterminal.