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Exclusive Licensing in Harbour Towage

The Review of Network Economics

Vol. 3, Issue 2 - June 2004, pp 145-167

  Henry Ergas, Teresa Fels and Jason Soon
Network Economics Consulting Group
E-mail: Henry Ergas, Teresa Fels and Jason Soon

  The question of whether exclusive licensing of the right to provide harbour towage services in ports can provide a superior outcome to open competition has been among the questions that have recently preoccupied Australian policymakers. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the arguments for and against the introduction of exclusive licensing of harbour towage by way of a review of the more general literature on franchise bidding. The paper argues that the general policy trend in Australia towards greater acceptance of exclusive licensing arrangements for harbour towage in Australia is misguided because the costs of open entry tend to be overestimated while the practical difficulties of exclusive licensing tend to be underestimated.

Keywords: franchise bidding, exclusive licensing, harbour towage, Australia.

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