Parameters influencing short sea shipping pricing scheme: Italian operator's point of view
Faculty of Applied Economics
Ascona , 2008
Conference proceedings of 8th Swiss Transport Research Conference
University of Antwerp
The Short Sea Shipping (SSS) market is strongly diversified, due to the variety of cargoes, vessel types and capacity, and segmented due to the existence of many national and peripheral submarkets. It is observed that prices differ considerably among transport services of similar distance routes and/or similar demand characteristics. Therefore, the aim of the paper is to identify the factors influencing pricing policies of SSS operators in the Mediterranean Sea, within the Italian perspective. In line with the scope, SSS market structures and intermodal transport services are examined. The approach includes both sea and inland leg of intermodal chains within the scope of an integrated framework. Additionally, the cost elements of an intermodal transport service and their relative importance within the total cost structure are studied. The analysis of data collected, through telephone and face-to-face interviews with SSS operators, reveals that the variation in fuel and port costs plus the level of competitiveness of the markets influence deeply both cost structure and pricing policy of an intermodal transport service (with fuel costs being the most important element). Pricing policy may also change according to destination and type of goods transported, while total transport cost might vary with hinterland transport cost adjustments. These findings contribute to the understanding of the SSS market and its operation. However, due to the complexity of self-organised systems, validating the presented cost and pricing structures remains a challenge, since such data is quite sensitive and hence, not easy to obtain directly.