Does shipping market affect international iron ore trade?– An equilibrium analysis

Dong Yang, Lingge Zhang, Meifeng Luo, Feng Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Whether shipping market affects international iron ore trade arouses a lot of discussions in recent years. To evaluate the impact of shipping, we build a mixed complementarity-based equilibrium model to understand the strategic behavior and interaction among major players, including importers, exporters, and carriers. Different from models found in other resource trades, this one considers the heterogeneity of iron ores and the production capacity allocation of exporters. In this three-party equilibrium model, importers and exporters compete in a Cournot fashion, incorporating the endogenous freight rate derived from a carrier module. This model is an instance of Discretely Constrained Mixed Complementarity Problem (DC-MCP), for which we provide a solution procedure based on Mixed Integer Nonlinear Program (MINLP) reformulation and convexification techniques. Our model performs better compared with those with given shipping cost and production capacity constraint. In addition, we apply the model to analyze the impact of shipping on the iron ore international trade through a numerical study. The results show that shipping can slightly dampen the negative impact on iron ore trade volume from an unexpected reduction in importer budget. For different exporters, this dampening effect varies by freight rate.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102107
JournalTransportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Bulk shipping
  • Iron ore trade
  • Large ships
  • Mixed complementarity problem
  • Three-party equilibrium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation


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