How do strategic decisions regarding fleet structure and fleet innovation in the shipping industry create value and lead to sustainable competitive advantage? A comparative study of Denmark, Greece and Norway

Helena J. Eleftheriadis & Maria Leontari

Student thesis: Master thesis


There is no other industry that can play such an important dual and vital role in the global economy, as shipping does. Socioeconomic and political events affect the trading activity and the way it takes place. Simultaneously, advancements in shipping have brought changes in the world as we know it and continue to alter and formulate it, as the history of ships goes back many centuries. Historically shipping has been characterized as one of the most competitive industries internationally and throughout the years rise and fall of great shipping nations has been observed. The scope of this paper is to identify what has been the key to success for the ones that have survived until now. For this purpose we examined, from after the Second World War onwards, three leading shipping nations; namely Denmark, Greece and Norway. All of them have leading positions in some of the sectors they operate. Our investigation was intended to be as thorough as possible targeting to analyze all the components many famous theories claim to be the basis of the creation and maintenance of competitive advantage. We took into consideration the international environment and the threats or opportunities that it poses, the national context of each country and the specific resources and capabilities of the firms in the micro level. Through case studies and analysis of current and historic statistics regarding fleet innovation and development we attempted to diagnose the major paths pursued by three leading shipping nations. What can be argued eventually is that the success and business strategies are not simply a function of the individual company’s past history and investments. Success is also determined by the conditions of resource supply within a firm’s national and international environment. The competitive advantage derives from a favourable combination of historically evolved capabilities, natural resources, institutional incentives that are country-specific, present opportunities and the ability to seize them.

EducationsMSc in Finance and Strategic Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages166