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Title: Measuring the scope of inter-firm agreements in the container shipping industry: an empirical assessment

Authors: Francesco Parola; Simone Caschili; Francesca Romana Medda; Claudio Ferrari

Addresses: Department of Business and Quantitative Studies, University of Naples 'Parthenope', Via Parisi 13, 80132, Naples, Italy ' UCL QASER Lab and Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London, Gower Street, WC1E 6BT, UK ' UCL QASER Lab, Faculty of Engineering, University College London, Chadwick Building, Gower Street London, WC1E 6BT, UK ' Department of Economics, University of Genoa, Via Vivaldi 5, 16126, Genoa, Italy

Abstract: In container shipping industry inter-firm agreements are becoming progressively popular as ship-owners share their slot capacity with commercial partners in order to have fully loaded container ships and reduce financial risk. This manuscript focuses on the cooperative agreements among shipping firms, i.e., vessel sharing and slot charter agreements within consortia and strategic alliances. Through a quantitative approach based on network and OLS regression analysis, we scrutinise the propensity to cooperate, the geographic extent and 'leveraging effect' generated by this commercial practise on the container-shipping industry. Results show that carriers, usually regarded as independent, are instead fairly cooperative, especially when involved in trade lanes originating from the Far East. Finally, we show that carriers increase their commercial objectives by leveraging the operated fleet capacity. We conclude with some implications for managers and practitioners as well as a discussion on limitations and future extensions of this study.

Keywords: inter-firm agreements; container shipping industry; cooperative agreements; strategic scope; network analysis; leverage; vessel sharing; slot charter agreements; consortia; strategic alliances.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSTL.2014.064571

International Journal of Shipping and Transport Logistics, 2014 Vol.6 No.5, pp.466 - 487

Available online: 21 Aug 2014 *

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