It was 20 years ago this summer that duty-free sales on inner-EU shipping journeys were abolished. With effect from 1 July 1999, passengers could no longer pick up duty-free cigarettes, wines and spirits on ferry journeys between EU ports. The booze cruise from Sweden to Germany or from England over to France no longer held quite the appeal it once did.
There were those who had argued that the abolition of duty-free sales would have a disruptive effect on the international ferry market and lead to the closure of routes. The argument was based on the transport subsidy hypothesis, viz. that retail income from on-board sales helped keep ferry services afloat.