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Shipping inside the Box: Containerization and Trade

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  • A. Kerem Cosar
  • Banu Demir Pakel

Abstract

We quantify the effect of container technology on transport costs and trade by estimating the modal choice between containerization and breakbulk shipping using micro-level trade data. The model is motivated by novel facts that relate container usage to shipment, destination and firm characteristics. We find container transport to have a higher first-mile cost and a lower distance elasticity, making it cost effective in longer distances. At the median distance across all country pairs, the box decreases variable shipping costs between 16 to 22 percent. The box explains a significant amount of the global trade increase since its inception: a quantitative exercise suggests that Turkish and U.S. maritime exports would have been about two-thirds of what they are today in the absence of containers.

Suggested Citation

  • A. Kerem Cosar & Banu Demir Pakel, 2017. "Shipping inside the Box: Containerization and Trade," CESifo Working Paper Series 6311, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_6311
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    Cited by:

    1. Lutz Kilian & Nikos Nomikos & Xiaoqing Zhou, 2023. "Container Trade and the U.S. Recovery," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 19(1), pages 417-450, March.
    2. Sharat Ganapati & Woan Foong Wong & Oren Ziv, 2020. "Entrepôt: Hubs, Scale, and Trade Costs," CESifo Working Paper Series 8199, CESifo.
    3. Zheng, Han & Fujii, Daisuke, 2021. "Nonlinear Pricing in the Transport Industry and the Gains from Trade," Discussion paper series HIAS-E-112, Hitotsubashi Institute for Advanced Study, Hitotsubashi University.
    4. Daniel M. Bernhofen & Zouheir El‐Sahli & Richard Kneller, 2021. "The impact of technological change on new trade: Evidence from the container revolution," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 54(2), pages 923-943, May.
    5. Thomas J. Holmes & Ethan Singer, 2017. "Indivisibilities in Distribution," Working Papers 739, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    6. Xiwen Bai & Jesús Fernández-Villaverde & Yiliang Li & Francesco Zanetti, 2024. "The Causal Effects of Global Supply Chain Disruptions on Macroeconomic Outcomes: Evidence and Theory," Economics Series Working Papers 1033, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    7. Nektarios A. Michail & Konstantinos D. Melas & Dimitris Batzilis, 2021. "Container shipping trade and real GDP growth: A panel vector autoregressive approach," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 41(2), pages 304-315.
    8. Giulia Brancaccio & Myrto Kalouptsidi & Theodore Papageorgiou, 2020. "Geography, Transportation, and Endogenous Trade Costs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 88(2), pages 657-691, March.
    9. Cristina Herghelegiu & Evgenii Monastyrenko, 2020. "Risk and Cost Sharing in Firm-to-Firm Trade," DEM Discussion Paper Series 20-24, Department of Economics at the University of Luxembourg.
    10. Brooks, Leah & Gendron-Carrier, Nicolas & Rua, Gisela, 2021. "The local impact of containerization," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 126(C).
    11. Adedotun Joseph Adenigbo & Joash Mageto & Rose Luke, 2023. "Effect of shipping trade on economic growth in Nigeria: the Vector Error Correction Model (VECM) approach," Journal of Shipping and Trade, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 1-18, December.
    12. Carlo Altomonte & Laura Bonacorsi & Italo Colantobe, 2018. "Trade and Growth in the Age of Global Value Chains," BAFFI CAREFIN Working Papers 1897, BAFFI CAREFIN, Centre for Applied Research on International Markets Banking Finance and Regulation, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
    13. Ardelean, Adina & Lugovskyy, Volodymyr, 2023. "It Pays to be big: Price discrimination in maritime shipping," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 153(C).
    14. Rosolino A. Candela & Peter J. Jacobsen & Kacey Reeves, 2022. "Malcom McLean, containerization and entrepreneurship," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 35(4), pages 445-465, December.
    15. Xiaoshi Zhou & Wanglin Ma, 2021. "Does agricultural mechanization reduce vulnerable employment? Evidence from cross-country panel data," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 41(2), pages 294-303.
    16. Giulia Brancaccio & Myrto Kalouptsidi & Theodore Papageorgiou & Nicola Rosaia, 2020. "Search Frictions and Efficiency in Decentralized Transportation Markets," NBER Working Papers 27300, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Asturias, Jose, 2020. "Endogenous transportation costs," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 123(C).
    18. Olaf M. Merk, 2020. "Quantifying tax subsidies to shipping," Maritime Economics & Logistics, Palgrave Macmillan;International Association of Maritime Economists (IAME), vol. 22(4), pages 517-535, December.
    19. Giulia Brancaccio & Myrto Kalouptsidi & Theodore Papageorgiou & Nicola Rosaia, 2020. "Search Frictions and Efficiency in Decentralized Transport Markets," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 1010, Boston College Department of Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    containerization; globalization; transportation; trade;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade

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