Since its advent, the liner shipping industry has been characterized by fierce competition and cooperation amongst the member carriers. In recent years, almost all the liners have sought extensive cooperation with others, as reflected mainly by the formation of strategic shipping alliances. Despite this, there are still some liners who prefer the ‘go-it-alone’ policy and have achieved relative success. It seems that cooperation is not always necessary for a liner company's success. It follows that a study that aims to find the rationale behind liner cooperation (or non-cooperation) is of great significance. Over many years of development, game theory has proved to be a useful tool in the study of economics. It is analytically applicable in this market. With these arguments in mind, this paper aims to apply cooperative game theory to analyse co-operation among members of liner shipping strategic alliances. This will involve: (i) presenting a detailed and systematic analysis of liner shipping strategic alliances: (ii) a concise overview of the development of game theory with specific focus on cooperative game theory, and (iii) deducing a conceptual framework through the application of cooperative game theory to liner shipping strategic alliances. The accomplishment of the aforementioned objectives will enhance understanding of inter-organizational relationships and decision-making behaviour in the liner shipping sector.