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Hilde Meersman, Christa Sys, Eddy Van de Voorde and Thierry Vanelslander

The general objective of this chapter is to assess the competitive conditions of the container liner shipping industry. To do this, it takes a closer look at four key issues in container liner shipping: pricing as an indicator of competition, market concentration, product development and differentiation, and (de)regulation. Despite the existence of cooperation agreements, the container liner shipping industry is typically a competitive environment where supply grows stronger than demand, resulting in declining freight rates. Knowledge about the degree of competition is obtained by the calculation of two indicators (i.e. an indicator of concentration and an indicator of market share instability). The research shows that the container liner shipping industry has no need for new regulatory initiatives for the time being. What is required is adequate monitoring of the market evolution and the significant variables.