In this exploratory research, the development of the container volumes is set in the context of socio-economic factors of influence. The development of the container industry is one of the many remarkable stories in maritime transportation. Neverthe-less, research into the macro-economic impact and development of the container volumes is only recently upcoming. This research contributes to the understanding of the use of the container by looking into the relation between the container volumes in a country and socio-economic factors such as average personal income and urbanisation. Using data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, World Bank and the World Economic Forum, this research will answer the research question: What is the rela-tion between a country’s economic development and the number of twenty-foot equivalent units handled per thousand inhabitants? The container volumes are cor-rected for the population size by regarding them per thousand inhabitants. The re-search question is answered using five hypotheses regarding the influence of the average income, both individually as opposed to consumption developments, the differences in container volume developments in different income groups, the effect of urbanisation and the trade intensity in a country. The data is analysed using a three-step approach. First, an analysis of the data of each of the countries in the sample is given using ordinary least squares regression estimation. This analysis reveals the influence of the variable(s) that is/are most explanatory for the development in the container volumes. Subsequently, a cross-country analysis will regard the determinants of differences in container volumes between countries. A panel data analysis will regard the trend development of the container volumes for the whole sample to determine in how far the developments are similar. Using fixed and random effect modelling, the models are tested against the assumptions of the Gauss-Markov Theorem. It is found that the average personal income is highly explanatory for both changes in the level of container volumes and trend developments. Lower-income countries (with an average income between 10.000-20.000 USD) show significantly higher growth rates than other income groups. The same holds for higher-income countries (with an average income between 30.000-40.000 USD), although the trend growth is much less than the lower-income countries. Differences in container volumes among countries can also be explained by differences in the average personal in-come. Low-income countries (average income < 30.000 USD) have a significantly higher level of container volumes than high-income countries. The impact of an increase in consumption or average personal income is amplified by the growth in the degree of urbanisation or trade intensity of a country. An in-crease in the total consumption, combined with an increase in urbanisation results in a larger increase in container volumes than when the level of urbanisation remained constant. This research contributes to the understanding of container volume developments in a more macro-economic context, using socio-economic variables and time-series data. Further research should focus on the development of larger datasets.

Langen, P.W. (Peter) de
Maritime Economics and Logistics
Erasmus School of Economics

Waal, J. (Jente). (2014, September 5). The effects of socio-economic factors on container volume developments. Maritime Economics and Logistics. Retrieved from