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Market structure in container terminal operators and port
Claudio Ferrari & Marco Benacchio
Claudio Ferrari & Marco Benacchio
University of Genova - Dipartimento di Economia e Metodi Quantitativi
In recent years two main trends have occurred in maritime and ports industries, mainly in those involved in containerised traffic: (i) the lowering of ports tariffs (ii) the development of vertical and horizontal concentrations of port terminal operators.
Those trends are leading to a clear-cut division among great and small port operators, on market side, and to a greater differentiation of port services - not only on a spatial basis - in order to re-gain some profits. The increasing differentiation of port services arouses interests as it is involving the logistic supply chain.
The paper aims at investigate those trends both on the theoretic
and the practical point of view, mainly referring to European
and Italian experience.
Topic Area: 8. Ports
1 Recent trends in maritime and port industries
In the last decades many changes occurred in the liner shipping
industry as well as in the market structure and in the organization
of port terminal operators. Due to the necessary linkage existing
between liners and port operators - it is not by chance that efficient
ports are those in which goods pass through from ships to inland
means of transport as smoothly as possible - the latter changes
may be often considered as answers to changes occurring in liner
The present paper does not aim at investigating all the changes
above; it is focused on the analysis of the evolution of port
terminal operators' market, with a particular attention to European
and Italian situation. To reach the goal the reality of liners
cannot be set aside in order to fully realize the real causes
that determined (and are still determining) a "revolution"
The growth of containerized cargo since the Sixties and the increased
port productivity for the adoption of technical equipment dedicated
to container movements has allowed ships to become bigger achieving
economies of scale. The increased ship dimensions (nowadays biggest
ships operating have a capacity of nearly 7,000 TEUs) mean increased
fixed costs, mainly capital costs, so economies of scale are achievable
subject to two conditions: i) that ships maintain an occupancy
rate of nearly 80% and ii) that ships sail as much as they
can, avoiding to stay in port. The latter condition means that
shipowners tend to limit only to a few the set of port of call
for each service.
The combined result of the conditions just mentioned together
with the increased average distance covered by each ton of cargo
during the sea leg of transport have determined a new structure
of liner services based on transhipment. It needs only a few ports
(called hub ports), possibly located very close to the ideal shipping
route, in which containers - collected from several origins -
are brought by small ships (feeders), then they are loaded on
a bigger ship and unloaded in another hub port from which they
are newly loaded on feeder ships to reach their final destinations.
On the port side, it is important to stress that hub ports non
necessarily coincide with historical ports, but often the physic
characteristics of these ports (berth length and structure, wideness
of the storage area, access depth) make more convenient the building
of completely new harbours, as happened for example in the case
of the Mediterranean hub ports of Algeciras, Malta and Gioia Tauro.
The transhipment revolution stressed - among other important aspects
such as, for example, the necessity of bigger containers fleet
- the inconsistency of the trends towards a fewer number of ships
in service, due to the increased capacity of vessels and the different
schedule of services (induced by the hub&spoke scheme), and
the constraints to increase the transit time of ships in order
to maintain a high quality level of the service.
The development of strategic alliances among liners seems a possible
solution to these problems and an efficient tool, mainly for those
liners without a huge financial availability, in order to cope
with increasing competition within the sector and in order to
enter into new markets. Ryoo and Tanopoulou (1999) indicate three
goals achievable by firms through strategic alliances: (i)
to widen operative borders of a single firm, (ii) to achieve
the scale useful to compete in global markets, (iii) to
quickly enter new markets maximizing the return (output) of each
partner's resources (input).
If strategic alliances allow even medium sized liners to face
global competition - representing a valid alternative to an increasing
firm expansion - at the same time they reduce the contractual
power of ports and of terminals in ports. In fact, the choice
of terminals that are to be called by the ship depends on the
alliance and not on each single liner. Then a significant number
of terminals struggles to gain cargo from different liners contracting
as if they were only one. Port terminals struggle with the solely
"weapon" of lowering tariffs and this process is also
due to the lack of sunk costs in the operation of re-scheduling
of liner voyages (Meersman et al, 1999).
Liners, in fact, try to maintain a certain degree of competition between terminals belonging to the same range (or sometimes to the same port), by calling to different terminals for different services. Data in annex 1 confirm, with reference to the ten of biggest players in alliances and four "independent" carriers, that usually the choice of calling at a terminal is shared by members of alliances, but also show that there is a clear strategy in differentiating service providers (especially for alliances) and not concentrating business with a few stevedores. This implies the possibility of a constant monitoring of contractual conditions of different suppliers (including tariffs but also priorities in berthing, stevedore's commitments in service standards such as berth productivity, dwell time for containers etc.), which allows to threaten fast shifts from a terminal to another, due to lower costs in relocation since contractual agreements are already going on (although for a number of services). A recent example of liners "volatility" can be highlighted with reference to Rotterdam and Antwerp. From December 1999 two of the four weekly services (China-North Europe, approximately 125.000 teus/year) of Grand Alliance based in Rotterdam Ect Delta terminal, were rescheduled on Antwerp Noord Natie Terminal, due to increasing delays in handling and dispatching containers (caused by terminal congestion but also by some temporary problems to the information system). In February 2000 the situation has been reconsidered, and from March, after less than three months, "loop D" ships have been gone back again to Rotterdam.
The adoption of the hub and spoke scheme in the scheduling of
liner services leads each large company to operate in order to
be equipped with its "own" hub port where it may organize
terminal activities with a fine tuning with its (own) ships' arrivals
(Musso et al., 1999) reaching all the scale economies of
ships (that, being them of major entity compared to terminal scale
economies, lead to an optimum level of production for the integrated
operator that is bigger than those of the distinct port and ship
Moreover, operational benefits justify terminal ownership and
management: it ensures, by priority use of the facility, a level
of service tailored to the line and it allows exercising a greater
control over costs (even if a cost reduction is not guaranteed,
being terminal operations usually not the core business of carriers).
From a strategic point of view it allows control to be exercised
in a part of the supply chain beyond the seaborne frontier.
Liner companies have three main ways to equip themselves with
a hub terminal: i) to built (although public funds usually
represent a significant share of the investment) and operate their
own container terminal acting as a "pure" terminal operator
(e.g. with their own means and personnel), eventually handling
also third-party traffic; ii) to become a port terminal
operator through a shareholding into a new, or already existing,
consortium, joint venture or company with a stevedore, giving
rise to a dedicated container terminal and ii) to become
the sole calling at a part of the terminal through an agreement
with the terminal operator company to which remain the ownership
and the management of the terminal.
Dedicated terminals are a quite common in US and Asian ports:
carriers like Sea-Land (who can be considered a pioneer of carrier
involvement in terminal facilities), Maersk, Evergreen, Cosco,
OOCL, Hanjin, Nepune Orient Line/American president Lines and
Hyundai, usually operate several terminals all over the world
(with terminals ownership and management being sensitive to changes
in alliances, takeovers and mergers). In Europe the emergence
of dedicated terminals started in the last few years: in table
1 some recent examples and imminent projects of the outlined different
strategies are shown, even though categories are always quite
Web sites: inforMARE, cargoweb.
Data in table 1 can be seen as an empirical evidence of a recent
trend in which the shift towards a higher commitment (and control)
by liner companies is gaining significance (indirectly also proving
the strategical value of the port business for major carriers).
Interesting is the case of Maersk-Sea land in Rotterdam who already
was the exclusive user of a section of ECT's Delta Terminal on
the Maasvlakte (fully operated by ECT). In fact, the new Maersk
Delta Terminal (starting operations in late summer 2000) will
be run by Maersk own people according to their own methodology,
schemes and with own material.
2 Market structure of port terminal operators
All changes recently occurring in liner shipping and port industries
tend to modify - or to intervene into - the market structure of
port services changing one, or more than one, of the different
conditions with which the market as the meeting point of demand
and supply determines prices and exchanged quantity.
A recent survey of Drewry Shipping Consultants Ltd. (1998) shows that tariffs diversification is greater among different ranges than inside each range (even if it does not mean that inside each range the level of tariff is everywhere the same). Figures shown in Tab. 2 indicate that in a world dominated by global competition some reasons still remain to enhance the hypothesis of a variety of markets - on a continental or sub-continental basis - each reflecting the particular port organization structure, superstructures endowment, connections with inland transport infrastructures, flows of cargoes and so on.
But tariffs diversification also means a low degree of elasticity
of port services demand to tariff variations, as stated by the
economic literature (Arnold, 1985; Suykens-Van de Voorde, 1998).
The existence of tariffs diversification on a range basis is the
result of a still present and generalized trend for reducing tariffs
as well as the monopolistic power of port due to their geographical
position, but for market and supply areas located immediately
close to the harbour. OSC (1999) gives some other figures for
the cost per teu handling, affecting liner shipping companies,
that confirm the decreasing tendency: Antwerp from $80,5 to $105;
Zeebrugge $84,5; Rotterdam Delta terminal $132; Bremen-Hamburg
(average) $134. Those trends has slowly eroded profit margin of
port container terminal operators (not even comparable, for example,
with those of oil terminal companies) but not necessarily it wholly
meant a reducing of final prices of goods, due to the oligopolistic
market forms that prevail in the transport sector.
As an example, in table 3, data from Drewry (1998) concerning
the profitability for four major stevedoring companies in 1997
Although the sample is far from being significant, and apart local
and institutional peculiarities (i.e. the fully privatized contest
for UK ports), a general tendency can be outlined for which profit
margins are somehow related to the competition level within the
port (the higher is competition, the lower tariffs and therefore
If tariffs levels represent a competition tool in the short term,
as they may acquire cargoes previously passing through competitors,
the other element determined by the market, the quantity of port
services, represents the real mean of dynamic competition, i.e.
the opportunity for firms to survive in the market in the long
run. In fact, the whole amount of service sold in the market is
strictly connected with the concept of port capacity which - deriving
to a great extent from the infrastructural endowment - is characterized
by great lumpiness in ports' production function.
Then the market structure looks like an oligopoly à
la Stackelberg, i.e. where the equilibrium is based on the
quantity of goods and not on prices. In this case, production
of ports services, the quantity of product may be usefully substituted
with the amount of capital invested in infrastructures. Figures
1 (Stackelberg equilibrium in the case of a duopoly between a
Leader - L - and a Follower - F) shows the reaction curves of
the duopolists and how market reach the equilibrium (labeled a).
The figure shows how Stackelberg equilibrium differs from that
of Cournot (labeled e).
It is well known that in the Stackelberg model, in the case of
the duopoly, one of the (two) duopolists (the "follower")
assumes that his choices do not affect the other behaviour while
the other firm (the "leader") assumes just the opposite.
On these assumptions the leader increases its level of production
(in respect of the production level characterizing Cournot's equilibrium)
till the follower's reaction curve - RF - becomes tangent
to the lower curve of leader's maximum profit ð*1 (for
this family of curves profit increases the closer they are to
the horizontal axes). The equilibrium is unstable for the passive
seller can take up a struggle, but it will not happen if the leader
is manifestly stronger than the follower.
Concerning the port sector, if the quantity of production may
be reasonably substituted with capital investments in infrastructures
(where they depend on stevedores) and superstructures (always
depending on stevedores) - i.e. those elements determining the
terminal capacity of production -, incumbents may limit the entry
of other competitors increasing their level. Moreover incumbents
may obtain the same goal by tuning the major (and solely) production
factor whose cost in most cases is borne by the public subject
(for instance, the Port Authority) and not by the (private) terminal
operators, or that private enterprises use by a long lease, usually
at a favorable condition: we intend referring to port and terminal
Stackelberg model divides incumbents into two groups: leaders
and followers. Why should a port terminal operator decide to act
as a follower and not as a leader? We suppose the answer may be
found in the different dimension and financial capacity of firms
actually operating in this sector. In fact, it is clearly outstanding
that there are few firms (operating in the market) belonging to
a great group of firms, often a multinational enterprise, covering
different geographical ranges, controlling one or more hub ports
and giving raise to real structured terminals networks. We are
relating to the so-called "big five" (Drewry, 1998)
- i.e. Hutchison Port Holding (HPH), P&O Ports, International
Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI), Stevedoring Services
of America (SSA) and Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) - the only
global operators all over the world and to other few multi-plant
firms focused on the European market: Hamburger Hafen und Lagerhaus
Aktiengesellschaft (HHLA), Eurokai, Hessenatie and Europe Combined
Terminals (ECT). As shown by Table 3 these firms control major
container ports: PSA, HPH and P&O Ports are located nearly
in all geo-economical ranges, other operators operate on a wide
(sources Containerization international, web sites)
From late 1999 CSX World Terminals emerged as a new market force, running several of the former Sea-Land terminals (approximately 3 mil. teus), after Sea-Land's international liner shipping was acquired by Maersk. To complete the scenario of the "global players" is important to add terminals operated directly by carriers (Maersk/Sea-land in primis): rough estimations are about 5-6 mil. Teus in 1998.
Of course, all other container terminal operators located only
in a port or in very few (small) ports have necessarily to act
The two outlined different kind of players (i.e. leaders and followers)
derive from a clear distinction among great port terminals (hub
terminals and/or great destination terminals) and other destination
terminals which present different scale of production. Therefore
leaders have no interest in a cutthroat competition with followers
till their market exclusion but leaders aims at limiting followers
expansion increasing their capital levels (more than Cournot ones).
In fact, leaders tend to control main origin/destination nodes
of the whole maritime transport chain considering not strategic,
as well as quite impossible, their presence in all regional ports,
also because in minor ports the knowledge of local environment
becomes a relevant and critical factor for success (see, for instance,
the problems incurred by ECT during its unsuccessful experience
in Trieste). As an example, a niche operator like Noord Natie
in Antwerp (0.7 mil. teus in 1998), sometimes co-operates with
Hessenatie in sharing berth cranes in peaks period, and is finalizing
its participation in operating the container terminal in the port
of Vestpils (Latvia).
To sum up, the Stackelberg model shows that
each terminal operator at each instant keeps more productive
capacity than it would if it could not influence its competitor's
accumulation, so the latter is forced to reduce its capacity.
Moreover, the competitor who invests first or with an advantage
in investment speed (perhaps due to its financial dimension) have
a positive impact on the structure of the industry (Tirole, 1988).
And the tendency to "over-invests" represents a sort
of medium-term commitment. In fact, the commitment value is inversely
related to the rate of depreciation of capital investment and
in this case, investments in terminal productive capacity cannot
surely be considered irreversible, but have a slow depreciation
Anyway, even among leaders and among followers there is a high
level of competition that leads terminal operators to differentiate
port services from the sole port manipulation of cargoes to the
(port) logistical services.
3 Improving profits through product differentiation: a survey
of recent trends in European port terminal operators
Three can be considered the main elements of the outlined scenario regarding the current status of port industry in terminal sector:
Concerning operational profits, it is widely accepted (e.g. Drewry
1998, 1999) that terminal costs structure is quite hard to squeeze
(even increasing size of single terminals) because of the relevant
fixed costs that are rather related to the throughput value. On
the other side revenues are influenced by (decreasing) tariffs
and by the risk of suddenly loosing a significant share of traffic
of a number of allied carriers. The lumpiness of port production
function could affect also turnover so that results eventually
cannot pay back the huge investments needed.
Therefore market leaders, supported by their financial capacity,
are mainly focusing on expansion plans in terms of world-wide
or macro-regional networks. This can be considered a sort of differentiation
on a geographical basis, whose benefits' range goes from exploiting
different kinds of economies scale-based (purchasing means in
stocks, developing common projects, improving standard procedures)
to minimizing market risks, also through temporary cross subsidization
among terminals (Musso et al., 2000). Concerning managerial
aspects, the emergence of international networks doesn't mean
consequently that standard, uniform operational models can be
successfully applied by leaders in all new controlled terminals
(e.g. Ect in Trieste). Terminal business is, in fact, quite related
to local environment (from labor markets to institutional frameworks,
from cultural features to the role played by ports on local economies).
These considerations in part explain why, recently, big players
usually penetrate new European small ports holding majority stakes
in partnerships with companies (=followers) previously running
terminals or local institutions aiming at exploiting and enhancing
local skills (e.g. PSA in Leghorn and Civitavecchia, Hessenatie
in Flushing and Tangier, Malta Freeport in Brindisi).
However the international development of terminal business is not just a matter of competition among terminal operators (even big). It remains still affected by the main role played by major marine carriers and multimodal transport operators, whose financial capacity and market power are not comparable to those of port industry. And this unbalance partly interprets two main trends in product differentiation in the stevedoring sector:
In both aspects the concept of differentiation implies the importance
of a further element in evaluating terminal function (besides
quantity and price), that is the "quality" of the service
(actual or perceived).
In the first case quality is expressed by the more effective
service provided to ships, by dedicating a terminal facility,
in terms of the possibility i) to process vessels immediately
upon arrival, eliminating time losses, ii) to re-schedule
service timetables according to a free disposability of the terminal
and iii) to pursue standardization of (faster) procedures
due to eventual common features of the liner's fleet (Benacchio
et al., 2000). It can be considered a quality improvement
within the traditional pattern of port services, by which stevedores
compete each other (horizontally) in order to acquire and maintain
clients. The difference between the strategy of dedicating terminals
and other innovations for better performances (e.g. an investment
in a new type of cranes able to handle boxes faster) is mainly
in the fact that clients take part actively to the service production.
Despite different considerations concerning the opportunity cost
of dedicating a terminal to an exclusive user (quite often, in
fact, liners pressure is so strong that dedicated terminals can
be seen as a forced outcome consequent to a "take it or leave
it" behavior), such agreements feature a sort of "mutual
commitment" between liner companies and ports. Each part
takes advantage from co-operation between ship and terminal, from
information sharing to complete vertical equity integration. Ships
gain in a more rational use of the fleet and in time and reliability
of the port services; terminal operators receive, through liners
huge investments, clear signals that major clients have "faith"
in the port and want to stay for a long time.
Effects of dedicated terminals on stevedores profits are not so
obvious, in the sense that the overall level of traffic in the
terminal could also decrease due to the worsening in the service
potentially perceived by clients of multi-user facilities. Only
if stevedores are able to use the secured capacity of exclusive
users as an element for price discrimination, dedicated terminal
can be a concrete strategy for sustainable development of terminal
industry in the medium run also from a financial point of view.
Different is the case of differentiation through adding new function
to the port service. The business of logistic is considered as
the way for terminal operators (as well as for other players in
the transport chain) for expanding their core business in more
profitable activities by which the terminal is not just a container
transit point. Added-value logistics in ports is giving rise (when
the required space is available) to distriparks development, in
which storage, consolidation, distribution and sometimes manipulation
of goods take place.
Besides distriparks, further elements can be outlined in the recent trend of product differentiation with reference to the European context:
Concerning the first aspect data in table 3 have already shown the interest of terminal operators in operating inland terminals. Main benefits of such an extension of the natural borders of the port to final destinations, can be considered:
Interest in the transport side is, on the other side, the logical
further step for connecting and strengthening the expanding networks
of marine and inland terminals. The aim is i) to control
part of the transport chain to increase service flexibility for
shippers and final clients and ii) to compete more effectively
in new tenders for concessions (for the recognized capacity of
carrying out investments in port-related transport infrastructures).
It is not still clear, however, if it has to be considered functional
to the core business of port service or a new segment of business.
Some concrete examples follow, in addition to those of table 3, regarding the outlined differentiation strategies:
A further aspect has to be carefully considered: with the strategic
differentiation in the logistic and transport sector terminal
operators indirectly enter in different businesses acting as carriers
(even if for short legs) and logistic providers. This cause a
new strong element of vertical competition with the big multimodal
transport operators (including main marine carriers) for the control
of high-profit links. Conflicts that, on the contrary, were mediated
by cooperation in dedicated terminals development.
Inland terminals acquisition policy by Ect, for instance, was
looked with disfavor by carriers such as Maesk (an Ect client)
and P&O Nedlloyd (which is involved in developing a "concurrent"
rail connection Antwerp-Duisbourg through a consortium, which
includes also the local municipality, for the concession of a
new container terminal in Antwerp).
Port container terminal industry is actually living a stage of
great development also due to the positive expectations regarding
the growth of international marine trade and namely of containerized
traffic for the next years. Between 1980 and 1998, in fact, while
non-containerized general cargo volumes rose by only 0,6% annually,
it was containerized general cargo volumes, registering average
growth of 8,3%, which was clearly the most dynamic sector of global
seaborne trade over the period. Current container share of general
cargo, around 55%, is expected to reach 65-68% in 2005 (around
800 million tons). Moreover, continuing increase in the incidence
of transshipment will promote further "induced" growth
in the level of containerized traffic.
The increasing throughputs, the development of hub and spoke networks
and the alliances-based organization of the liner shipping sector,
cause the container terminal sector to be recognized as quite
interesting also by carriers, who are moving, through several
organizational approaches, in the search of profitability. Interest
is seldom related to the opportunity in itself of entering a new
business for its potential gains. The fact that much of the global
port development aimed at transshipping cargo is being undertaken
directly by main carriers, means that liners' strategies are more
related to the purpose of a tight control of container routing
and to the search of developing ad hoc service standards for their
own ships and scheduled services.
At the same time the sole stevedoring activity is less profitable
than it was in the recent past for the increasing overlapping
of market areas and for the huge contractual power of (few) liners.
But the reduced profit margins are also a consequence of the strong
competition among terminal operators. It does not imply the existence
of a perfect competition market, but it means that captive hinterlands
are no longer the unique markets of each port. Moreover the distinction
among leaders and followers is sometimes still not clear and accepted
by all incumbents, giving rise to tariffs competition.
In order to regain some profits, container terminal operators
tend to differentiate their product in different ways: horizontal
concentrations, vertical integrations (either becoming dedicated
terminal or becoming a logistic platform), widening of the services
offered (through the transformation from marine terminal operators
to logistical operators).
To a certain extent the port terminal sector is experiencing the
same trends, previously experienced by the liner sector, even
with a certain time lag: i.e. the progressive reduction of the
number of the players in the market and a clear distinction among
few (great) operators and a number of "local" niche
players acting the follower role in respect of the bigger ones.
Within the outlined scenario two main questions arise, concerning:
Being aware of the complexity of those matters, here it is just
possible to draw some guideline of analysis.
Concerning the first point, in the next future, it is quite likely
that leaders will continue to struggle again to win competition,
also through extra acquisitions. This will lead to winners and
losers in terms of market share and profit margin, but a further
reduction of their already small number is quite improbable, since
the current high level of consolidation. It could be possible
only if containerized cargo flows will stop to grow, but this
projection has not a high degree of confidence in the medium run.
The formation of strategic alliances seems to be, therefore, the
natural trend also in container terminal operation. First of all
between stevedores: for all "local" container terminal
operators (i.e. followers) there will be the opportunity to gain
traffic and profit from their partnerships with the market leaders,
if they are able to exploit at the maximum level the heritage
of knowledge of the local market (with regards both to the market
of production factors and of goods and services), and of the complex
network of relations existing among all the economic and institutional
agents somehow related to the port. In this light they will be
to some extent complementary to market leaders in joining local
experience and high financial power. While, on the contrary a
competitive strategy is going to start a never-ending struggle,
that probably could exclude some of the followers from the market,
but will result in profit margins lower than the actual ones also
To some extent this is what is actually happening in Italy where
a lot of container terminals experienced in the last few years
a strong increase in container throughput only for the presence
of the hub container terminal of Gioia Tauro. Quite all medium-small
container terminals (both on the Tirrenian and the Adriatic coast)
were able to exploit the situation through the equity exchange
or partnerships with several market leaders assuring in such a
way their existence for the future.
But alliances would be more and more common also between stevedores
and different kind of companies (promoting logistic-orientated
product differentiation), between stevedores and Port Authorities
(promoting synergies in infrastructure policies and sharing information
on port future plans) and, finally, between stevedores and liners
(promoting mutual benefits from vertical integration, like the
Antwerp consortium between P&O Nedlloyd and Hessenatie/Noord
Natie and the "alliance" between PSA and Evergreen in
This, also with reference to the second point, highlights a possible
interpretation which takes into account also latest evidence.
There is an implicit superiority in differentiation strategies
involving co-operation between different players in the transport
chain (countervailing also shippers' power) rather than single
players adding new functions to their core business. Being the
related businesses knowledge and asset based, benefits are in
the sense of a better completion of long term experienced managerial
skills and know-how in different sectors, compared with the risk
of multiplying businesses in which the new entrants play as no
innovative competitors against long established incumbents. Moreover
co-operation allows a more rational infrastructure policy exploiting
economies of scale and reducing sunk costs.
Co-operation, consortia and joint ventures between different levels
of the logistical chain, however, don't necessary imply any equality
between partners and allied. Market players' power will result
in different leaderships in, even temporary, partnerships. Currently
the discrimination criterion for identifying "logistic-alliances"
leaders should be found in the financial capacity and firm's size;
and within such a scenario, although each case can be considered
different, it is not rash thinking of a general predominant role
of big carriers, especially in maritime alliances, where involved.
The paper is the result of the close collaboration among the authors.
Nevertheless, §§ 2 and 4 are by Claudio Ferrari and
§§ 1 and 3 are by Marco Benacchio
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Annex 1: major lines/services calling at European container terminals
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