There has been a phenomenal increase in the sizes of ships during the last twenty years. It has long been assumed that normal trade practice is to use the largest ship that can be accommodated at both origin and destination ports and that happens to be available at the time required. However, there is now a considerable body of evidence to suggest that volume of trade, length of route and value of product are the primary determinants of ship size, and consequently of sailing frequency and number of visits to a port. The effect of these factors is obscured by traditional practices in such matters as port-of-call operation, general cargo procedures, handling equipment on board ship and the way in which various trades are organized and operated. In addition there are seasonality of trade effects and constraints at both port and shipyard which must be considered. The optimum ship size theory discussed in this paper has been developed to explain the macro-economics of some aspects of shipping practices for dry bulk cargo. Nevertheless, the general concepts and principles appear to have far wider applicability. Some of these implications are described. In more recent work related to the mechanism of industrial location for the so-called sea port industries, account has been taken of part-loaded ships, port constraints and backhauling.

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    London School of Economics and Political Science

    Houghton Street, Aldwych
    London WC2A 2AE,   England 
  • Authors:
    • Kendall, P M
  • Publication Date: 1972-5

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  • Accession Number: 00034659
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 27 1974 12:00AM