Handbook of International Trade and Transportation
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Handbook of International Trade and Transportation

Edited by Bruce A. Blonigen and Wesley W. Wilson

International trade has grown rapidly over the past half century, accommodated by the transportation industry through concomitant growth and technological change. But while the connection between transport and trade flows is clear, the academic literature often looks at these two issues separately. This Handbook is unique in pulling together the key insights of each field while highlighting what we know about their intersection and ideas for future research in this relatively unexamined but growing area of study.
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Chapter 23: Competition and the container liner shipping industry

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.

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