Determinants of Maritime Transport Costs. A Panel Data Analysis for Latin American Trade
This paper analyses the determinants of transport costs for intra-Latin American trade over a period of six years (1999-2004). The data refer to yearly disaggregated (SITC 5 digit level) maritime trade flows on 277 trade routes. With this data set, a transport costs equation is estimated using linear regression analysis in a panel data framework. The first contribution to the literature is to exploit the greater variability present in our data and to control for unobservable heterogeneous effects. The second is to investigate the influence of open registries on the variability of maritime transport costs. Three groups of explanatory variables are considered. Firstly, timevarying variables: use of open registries and trade imbalance. Secondly, variables related to liner shipping network structures: number of liner services, shipping opportunities, deployed ships and deployed TEUs. Finally, product related variables such as volume of shipment, value of product and special characteristics of the cargo (i.e. refrigerated cargo). The results will allow us to quantify the effect of the explanatory variables on international maritime transport costs and to compare the obtained elasticities with previous cross-section analysis. In particular, estimating the impact of the use of open registries on transport cost is a new contribution in this field that could provide policy makers with valuable information to be used in the implementation of economic policies.
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