Market share (in)stability in the container liner shipping industry?
Faculty of Applied Economics
Proceedings of the IAME Annual Conference 2013, Marseille 3-5 july 2013
University of Antwerp
Abstract The intensity of competition is often discussed in literature but hardly computed for the container liner shipping industry. This paper studies how the intensity of competition in this industry evolves over time. Therefore, the present paper calculates and discusses the Hymer-Pashigian index of market share instability. The magnitude of the market share instability index has been used to indicate the level of competitiveness at aggregated level over the period 1998 - 2012. Since liner operators compete with each other not only within the total container liner shipping market but also in sub-markets, the paper also elaborates on this issue at a disaggregated level, viz. the trade lane, and tests an empirical model for examining the determinants of market share instability. The results reveal evidence that the container liner shipping industry is characterised by a relatively stable competition. The index also allowed to measure rivals behaviour at the trade lane level. At disaggregated level, the intensity of competition differs among trade routes. Additionally, the variation of the Hymer-Pashigian index was examined. The findings indicate the presence of an inverted U-shaped relationship between concentration and the Hymer-Pashigian index at industry level. At trade level, concentration is negatively related to market share instability and evidence is provided that the variable growth plays a major role in affecting the dynamics of market share. In the policy context, regulators should focus on trade level since the effects are more clearly identified when working at the disaggregated level rather than at aggregated industry level.