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Consolidation and contestability in the European container handling industry

Theo E. Notteboom

Maritime Policy & Management, 2002, vol. 29, issue 3, 257-269

Abstract: The first part of this paper brings into discussion some recent changes in the dynamics of the European container handling business, in particular as a result of vertical and horizontal integration strategies of container terminal operators. The industry structure has become sufficiently consolidated to raise a fundamental question about whether market forces are sufficient to prevent the abuse of market power. In this context, reference is made to the theory of contestable markets. The second part of the paper looks more closely to the issue of contestability by means of an exploratory and qualitative study of elements that could prevent other players entering or exiting the European container handling market. As such, a first indication is given of the degree of contestability in the container handling industry.

Date: 2002
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