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The occurrence and unpredictability of speculative bubbles on financial markets, and their accompanying crashes, have confounded economists and economic historians…
The occurrence and unpredictability of speculative bubbles on financial markets, and their accompanying crashes, have confounded economists and economic historians worldwide. The purpose of this paper is to diagnose and detect the bursting of shipping bubbles ex ante, and to qualify the patterns of shipping price dynamics and the bubble mechanics, so that appropriate counter measures can be taken in advance to reduce side effects arising from bubbles.
Log periodic power law (LPPL) model, developed in the past decade, is used to detect large market falls or “crashes” through modeling of the shipping price dynamics on a selection of three historical shipping bubbles over the period of 1985 to 2016. The method is based on a nonlinear least squares estimation that yields predictions of the most probable time of the regime switching.
It could be concluded that predictions by the LPPL model are quite dependent on the time at which they are conducted. Interestingly, the LPPL model could have predicted the substantial fall in the Baltic Dry Index during the recent global downturn, but not all crashes in the past. It is also found that the key ingredient that sets off an unsustainable growth process for shipping prices is the positive feedback. When the positive feedback starts, the burst of bubbles in shipping would be influenced by both endogenous and exogenous factors, which are crucial for the advanced warning of the market conversion.
The LPPL model has been first applied into the dry bulk shipping market to test a couple of shipping bubbles. The authors not only assess the predictability and robustness of the LPPL model but also expand the understanding of the model and explain patterns of shipping price dynamics and bubble mechanics.
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.