COMPETITION IN SHIP HANDLING: A STUDY OF MARKET TURBULENCE IN NORTH EUROPEAN HARBOUR TOWAGE

This paper addresses the issues of an increasingly competitive towage industry in Northern European ports. Enhanced competitiveness reflects the trends in the global mobility of capital, labor, enterprise, and management within the context of deregulated port markets. Up until the early 1990s, the long term trend in major North European ports had been toward market concentration. Many small towage firms have been taken over, bought out, or merged. Alternatively, a pattern of consortia has emerged with cooperation and market sharing seen as preferable to ruinous competition. A contrasting trend has occurred in the 1990s, with new entrants into hitherto stable markets. In a number of ports--Antwerp, Rotterdam, Bremerhaven, Hamburg, Southampton, Thamesport, and Bristol Channel--new fleets have brought competitive challenge to the incumbent towage fleets. The process of enhanced competitiveness raises questions of safety, reliability, investment, and professionalism. The movement toward an openly competitive shipping industry has been in evidence from the 1960s onward. The momentum of a dynamic shipping industry, with its competitiveness sharpened by the use of global supply factors, has intensified from that period. The movement in European tonnage toward flags of convenience and global labor supplies began in the tanker and bulk carrier markets; more recently this has spread to deep sea liner, short sea, and even cabotage trade shipping. The towage industry is the last North European shipping sector to make this transition, following the trends toward port deregulation in the 1990s. From this perspective, this paper considers the impact on the towage market of global mobility and deregulation in North European towage markets--the impact of increased competition on the traditional operators and the likely effect on operational towage standards.

  • Availability:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Taylor & Francis

    4 Park Square, Milton Park
    Abingdon,   United Kingdom  OX14 4RN
  • Authors:
    • Atkin, R
    • ROWLINSON, M
  • Publication Date: 2000-7

Language

  • English

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00798434
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 17 2000 12:00AM