The regulatory structure of the ocean shipping industry allows carriers to enter into joint pricing agreements (conference agreements) that are free from antitrust scrutiny, and requires freight rates to be published and policed by a government agency. We test whether this regulatory structure leads to the exercise of market power, and identify whether that market power resides with conferences themselves or requires the participation of carriers outside the conference. The results suggest that liner conferences are not particularly effective cartels although some market power may exist in ocean shipping. Market concentration may be a contributing factor to this market power. (JEL L12, L43, L92, K21)
Economic Inquiry – Wiley
Published: Apr 1, 1998
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