The most recent technological transformations affecting water transport have focused on modifying water channels such as dredging port channels to deeper depths , on increasing the size, the automation and the specialization of vessels e. These transformations partially explain the development of a maritime traffic that has been adapting to increasing energy demand mainly fossil fuels , the movements of raw materials, the location of major grain markets and not least to the growth of the trade of intermediate and finished goods.
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Fluvial transportation, even if slow and inflexible, offers a high capacity and a continuous flow. Ports are less relevant to fluvial transportation but fluvial hub centers experiences a growing integration with maritime and land transportation, notably with containerization. The degree of integration for fluvial transportation varies from totally isolated distribution systems to well integrated ones.
In regions well supplied by hydrographic networks, fluvial transportation can be a privileged mode of shipment between economic activities. In fact, several industrial regions have emerged in along major fluvial axis as this mode was initially an important vector of industrialization. More recently, river-sea navigation is also providing a new dimension to fluvial transportation by establishing a direct interface between fluvial and maritime systems.
Most maritime circulation takes place along coastlines and three continents have limited fluvial trade; Africa, Australia and Asia with the exception of China. There are however large fluvial waterway systems in North America , Europe and China over which significant fluvial circulation takes place. Fluvial-maritime ships enable to go directly from the fluvial to the oceanic maritime network. Despite regular services on selected fluvial arteries, such as the Yangtze, the potential of waterways for passenger transport remains limited to fluvial tourism river cruises. Most major maritime infrastructures involve maintaining or modifying waterways to establish more direct routes navigation channels and canals.
This strategy is however very expensive and undertaken only when absolutely necessary. Significant investments have been made in expanding transshipment capacities of ports, which is also very expensive as ports are heavy consumers of space.
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Not every region has a direct access to the ocean and maritime transport. This requires agreements with neighboring countries to have access to a port facility through a highway, a rail line or through a river. However, being landlocked does not necessarily imply an exclusion from international trade, but substantially higher transport costs which may impair economic development.
For instance, France has significant nautical accessibility, but the main port handling it containerized traffic is Antwerp in Belgium. The importance and configuration of maritime routes has changed with economic development and technical improvements. Among those, containerization changed the configuration of freight routes with innovative services. Prior to containerization, loading or unloading a ship was a very expensive and time consuming task and a cargo ship typically spent more time docked than at sea.
Inter-range service. Involves a set of sequential port calls from at least two maritime ranges, commonly including a transoceanic service and structured as a continuous loop. They are almost exclusively used for container transportation with the purpose of servicing a market by balancing the number of port calls and the frequency of services. The main advantage of inter-range services is the ability to call several ports and therefore increase the ship load factor.
This sequence of ports tends to be highly flexible in terms of which ports are serviced to maximize the market potential. There is however the risk of empty trips particularly backhauls and longer service times between distant port pairs along the route. This is notably the case for Europe Mediterranean, North Sea and the Baltic in light of the negative impacts of deviations from main maritime shipping routes in terms of service length and frequency of port calls. Maritime transportation is dominantly focused on freight since there are no other effective alternative to the long-distance transportation of large amounts of freight.
The systematic growth of maritime freight traffic has been fueled by:. This limit is often identified as a loadline, which is the maximal draft of the ship and does not account for the weight of the ship itself but includes fuel and ballast water. Maritime freight is conventionally considered in two main markets :. Bulk cargo.
It often requires the use of specialized ships such as oil tankers as well as specialized transshipment and storage facilities. Conventionally, this cargo has a single origin, destination and client and prone to economies of scale. Services tend to be irregular, except for energy trades, and part of vertically integrated production processes e. The dynamics of the bulk market are mainly attributed to industrialization and economic development creating additional demand for resources and energy.
Break-bulk cargo. Refers to general cargo that has been packaged in some way with the use of bags, boxes, drums and particularly containers. This cargo tends to have numerous origins, destinations and clients. Before containerization, economies of scale were difficult to achieve with break-bulk cargo as the loading and unloading process was very labor and time consuming.
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The dynamics of the break bulk market are related to manufacturing and consumption. The composition of maritime traffic has shifted from being dominated by liquid bulk petroleum to dry bulk and containers. Technical improvements tend to blur the distinction between bulk and break-bulk cargo, as both can be unitized on pallets and increasingly in containers. For instance, it is possible, and increasingly common, to ship grain and oil, both bulk cargoes, in a container.
Geographically, maritime traffic has evolved considerably over the last decades especially through growth in of Asia-Europe and transpacific trade. By establishing commercial linkages between continents, maritime transport supports a considerable traffic.
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The advantage of maritime transport does not rest on its speed, but on its capacity and on the continuity of its services. Railway and road transportation are simply unable, if it was possible, to support a traffic at such a geographical scale and intensity. The average haul length was about 4, miles. The global maritime shipping industry is serviced by about , commercial vessels of more than tons falling into four broad categories:. The distinctions in vessel types are further differentiated by the kind of services on which they are deployed.
Bulk ships tend to operate both on a regular schedule between two ports or on voyage basis to reflect fluctuations in the demand. This demand may be seasonal, as for grain transport, of niche, such as for project cargo e.
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General cargo vessels operate on liner services, in which the vessels are employed on a regular scheduled service between fixed ports of call, or as tramp ships, where the vessels have no schedule and move between ports based on cargo availability. All these activities are substantially fragmented in their ownership and operations. Maritime shipping is dominated by bulk cargo , which roughly accounted for However, the share of break-bulk cargo is increasing steadily, a trend mainly attributed to containerization.
Maritime shipping has traditionally faced two drawbacks in relation to other modes. Secondly, delays are encountered in ports where loading and unloading takes place. The latter may involve several days of handling when break-bulk cargo was concerned. These drawbacks are particularly constraining where goods have to be moved over short distances or where shippers require rapid deliveries. Maritime shipping has seen several major technical innovations aiming at improving the performance of ships or their access to port facilities, notably in the 20th century.
They include:. An important feature of the economics of shipping relates to its capital costs , which requires financing. Because of their size, ships represent a significant capital outlay. The annual cost of servicing the purchase of these vessels represents the largest single item of operating expenditures, typically accounting for over half of the annual operating costs.
Container shipping requires the deployment of many vessels to maintain a regular service 14 ships in the case of a typical Far East — Europe service , which is a severe constraint on the entry of new players. Condition: Good. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside.
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Condition: Used: Good. Factors determining investment criteria. Changes in ownership and financial structure of the vessel. Analysis of national mercantile fleet investment policy.. Development of container fleets.. Factors to consider in planning sailing schedules. Surveys and maintenance. Survey methods.