testata inforMARE

20 ottobre 2020 Il quotidiano on-line per gli operatori e gli utenti del trasporto 02:27 GMT+2

12. Possible Scenario for the Evolution of the Conference System: Areas of Activity and Traffic Sectors

It is difficult at present to foresee the future role and possible competitive arrangement of the Shipping Conference and shipping market systems in the aftermath of the gobalization of the economy.

The role may still be of considerable importance, albeit transformed with respect to the present. The recent experience and current position of IATA - the International Air Transport Association, which has long performed the role of the Shipping Conferences in the field of air transport - may well provide helpful clues and operating models concerning the Shipping Conferences themselves, their future and their function in global competition.

The position of IATA, arranged in three major sectors of world traffic, can provide a basis for identifying a destination in the evolution of the Conference system following the profound transformation of the geographical areas of traffic which is at present underway. For its part, the role acquired by IATA as "clearing house" for the credit and debit accounts of participating companies, mainly through "interline" services, may be a useful guide. Particularly when it is considered that IATA's clearing function involves figures of the order of tens of billions of dollars annually (approximately US$ 22.5 billion in 1990).

Then there are certain questions which the most widespread presence of goods shipping transport leaves open. For instance, those traffic connections which are not intermodal or containerized and which will presumably continue to operate as at present (or as in the very recent past). Or local and regional (international) type traffic connections, such as those of "Short Sea Shipping". Or, again, the many local and regional sectors for feeder services in container transport - even though, in this case there are possible differentiating elements with regard to other sectors of traffic.

All this must be placed within a framework in which a society based on information systems, telecommunications, information technology and telematics can strengthen the power of the Conferences in applying agreements.

Leaving aside this last factor, the types and arrangements of competition continuing in traffic sectors which may still be conceived as operational areas in an updated Conference system should not differ substantially from those of the past. The main issues are the presence of outsiders, competition concerning the quality, standard, frequency and times of the service offered, flouting of cartels, and competition among different sources whose products - carried by companies from different Conferences - flood the market. Within the context of traffic connections covered by feeder services, the presence is more than likely of one or several components external to the sector and forming part of one or other of the large groups or alliances operating in intermodal transport on the major routes. This group or alliance may even have undertaken the formation of the sector and stayed on - for example by means of subsidiary companies - as active participants able to manipulate the situation and course of events.


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