> Market transparency study

13 May 2015

The market transparency study is available. With the exception of the Eastern European market, the bulk of the cargo is moved by microsize companies in Western Europe. Ship owners heavily rely on brokers and more than half of assignments is traded on the spot market. This gives ship owners little insight in their own market and little leverage to negotiate. The report looks into models of cooperation and logistics optimisation.

With this background, the focus of this study is to look at possible synergetic actions and improvement of market transparency from the viewpoint of the vessel operators/owners by means of improved transport capacity management (efficiency) and expansion in the the services providing one-stop-shop logistic solutions in order to improve integration of Inland Waterway Transport (IWT) in supply chains. This concerns collaboration between shipowners and brokers in order to reach economies of scale that allow the expansion of services by means of offering storage and transhipment operations as well as intensified collaboration with other modes of transport   

For structural improvement of the current situation, a closer look at the decision-making processes in IWT is necessary. This means looking into the development of supply and demand for services in the marketplace of inland waterway transport. In order to find inspiration and best practices, the functioning of the IWT sector was compared with other (transport) sectors and sectors that are also dominated by small family enterprises on the supply side. Moreover, PLATINA2 studied the existing cooperatives in IWT to learn more about the best practices, the drivers and the barriers in order to get an indication of the possible expansion of such collaboration models in the IWT market. This was done by means of desk research, targeted interviews and by means of a large scale survey among vessel owner/operators with feedback from 391 respondents. Since horizontal collaboration is a sensitive area with respect to competition regulations, PLATINA2 also paid specific attention to the identification and description of the legal framework. Based on these analyses it became possible to draw conclusions and to propose a strategy with a number of actions by the different stakeholders