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Ports are widely recognised as crucial nodes in international trade and transport. However, for various reasons, capacity does not always match demand: sometimes there is…
Ports are widely recognised as crucial nodes in international trade and transport. However, for various reasons, capacity does not always match demand: sometimes there is overcapacity, whereas in other cases, demand exceeds capacity and there is a shortage of the latter. This chapter therefore looks at where port congestion occurs, both globally and in the port-calling chain; it analyses actual responses by various chain actors, and it sheds some light on potential future evolution and reaction patterns.
Congestion, in general, can feature various forms of appearance: it can be more or less hidden, featuring congestion costs, or it can be visually present, featuring queues which are building up. The chapter discerns eight zones in the port-calling chain where congestion may emerge. As a result of a wide literature search, supplemented with a survey, it can first of all be observed that quite some congestion seems to occur, globally spread, and hitting larger as well as smaller ports. Most of the congestion is generated at the terminals, hinterland connection points and hinterland transport itself.
In terms of reaction patterns, one would assume that pricing throughout the system is adapted in such way that demand equals capacity. In practice, prices are hardly making any effort to make marginal revenue equal marginal cost. The reason is mainly that the power balance is quite strongly in favour of shipping companies, who impose on port and port operators the need to expand capacity at low fees. Port operators, in turn, apply various kinds of technical and procedural adaptations. The same is true for hinterland operators.
Looking towards the future, it seems that with the increase in world trade, the risk of port congestion will be even more outspoken, be it in some parts of the world more than in others. It is also very much likely that most problems will occur landside, as this is the part of the chain where solutions are least easy: who is going to take the initiative, how will co-ordination take place and where will the funding come from? Most actors seem to be aware of this trend, and seek for solutions like dedicated terminals and vertical integration or co-operation.
With the above observations, the chapter sheds some light on where the future needs and trends in the abatement of capacity will lie. It is therefore useful from a scientific point of view as well as with an eye on policy-making and operational port management.
Choosing the right pricing strategy is a complex decision, even though it is fundamental for transport companies whose activities are very diverse and subject to strong…
Choosing the right pricing strategy is a complex decision, even though it is fundamental for transport companies whose activities are very diverse and subject to strong stochastic fluctuations. However, in spite of its complexity, adequate pricing can be a very relevant instrument to ensure the competitive position of the company.
European airlines are competing for the same passengers, often with different strategies and, as a consequence, with different financial results at the end of the fiscal year. The use of different pricing strategies is one of the potential explanations. This brings us to the research question of this chapter: How can air pricing strategies be used to support strategic aims, and what are the consequences?
This chapter first deals with the state of the art in air pricing strategies, followed by an analysis of the relationship between airline pricing, yields and profit. The focus then moves to a case study at Brussels Airport over the period 2012–2017. Following the entry of Vueling and Ryanair at Brussels Airport, the incumbent Brussels Airlines launched a very aggressive pricing war against the two newcomers. The result was a partial withdrawal by Vueling and Easyjet and an end to Ryanair’s expansion at Brussels Airport. Even without access to confidential detailed data, one can learn a lot from the reconstruction of the consecutive management decisions by the airlines involved.