Cargo Transport

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phavoc
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Cargo Transport

Postby phavoc » Wed Nov 13, 2013 7:42 pm

I sort of derailed my own thread (SDB's vs. Warships) getting off on the cargo discussion, so I figured I'd start a new one, if anything just to make it easier to search at a later date.

The cost of starships, like container ships and pretty much any other cargo ship today, is huge, and some would argue that it's exorbitant. In either case, it's all about the money, right? Cargo ships, unlike warships, need to be designed to operate economically as possible. And their related operations need to be similar - fast and efficient.

Up till about 40 years ago, most cargo in the world was transported pretty much like it had been since day 1 - jumbled together in a cargo hold. Oh, they tried to be smart about it, but there's only so much you can do with palletized cargo. Bulk cargo's, on the other hand, kind of went the opposite direction. Bulk cargo's (wheat, corn, soybeans, coal, ore, etc) are actually more efficiently transported in bulk, using specialized freighters. In much the same way, specialized rail cars were developed to transport specific cargo's. Now you see tank cars, hoppers, coil cars, and more beyond the original box car and flat car.

Then along came containers. It made loading and unloading a snap. Shippers could now sell shipping by the TEU (20' foot containers. The 'standard' shipping container for sea transport is the 40' container, which is actually 2 TEU's). No longer did you need an army of stevedores (who tended to strike a lot too). Cranes with a single person could unload a ship easily, 4-5 of them can unload a ship in about 12 hours. It takes longer to load them naturally, but no more than 24hrs (this does not include the amount of 'ground' time necessary to pre-stage the cargo, though this is not much different than the old fashioned way either).

There's a complete dearth of information in regards to how cargo is moved in the Traveller universe. At least as far as the official guides are. Nothing I've found to date tells you how the "Ag" planets manage to get their goods to the buyers. Obviously not everything moves by Free Trader, Far Trader or Subsidized Merchant. And the books allude to larger cargo ships, but that's about it. GURPS mentioned some LASH-style ships with 1k Dton pods that got moved around, but not much else.

Which is ok for a RPG game. Not many players and refs want to play "Let's Move that Grain", or at least that's a suspicion of mine. As I see it, the cargo ships will be something along the lines of container ships of today, except sealed better to protect against the vacuum of space. The containers themselves will come in all sizes and shapes to facilitate transport and handling of the cargo. Everything that can be containerized will be. Shipping liquids can be done through containers by putting the tank itself within a container-frame (just like they do today). Livestock, too, can be shipped that way (there's an example in Merchants). Smaller containers (10-120Dton) would be popular as they can be loaded in pretty much any freigther. Plus they make for handy distribution of the products once they hit dirtside. Transport and storage of the cargo also needs to be efficient to keep costs down. But there will be some larger containers that need to be constructed to transport larger, bulk cargo's. Since a) materials science will give you access to strong materials, and b) a lot of work will be done in zero-g, making a 400Dton container, for example, to transport smaller containers makes physical and economic sense. Then once the ship hits the unloading point it can unload a single larger container, and load a single large container instead of 40 10Dton containers. Lighters can then pick up the container for transport to the surface or to an orbital facility.

For the most part, since containers are standardized, the cost per transport ton will be the same for any product, with a few exceptions. Products that are hazardous would naturally be charged a higher rate due to the risk factor. Sensitive cargo, like live animals, might likewise have a higher rate attached to them due to extra risk and potentially extra work having to take place to care for the animals. But for the most part if you can seal it in a container and not have to worry about it, then everything should be shipped for the same rate.

The container's themselves would come in two classifications probably. Vacuum-rated, and non-vacuum rated. The TL would also probably come in two levels. A lower TL for the container itself means more worlds can build their own locally - a huge cost factor. Higher TL containers would probably be slightly more expensive, but feature things like vacuum-ratings, temperature, atmosphere and gravity controls, and more than few might have their own anti-grav system built in (though that might be a bit cost prohibitive). Today a shipping container, as opposed to say a tractor-trailer container, is able to withstand most handgun fire not utilizing armor-piercing bullets. Why? Because shipping containers have to withstand a great deal of stress and the ocean environment. They are pretty tough. Though unless you had the need, you wouldn't build a shipping container to withstand LMG, autocannon, gauss or laser rifle fire unless you were transporting high-security cargo.

I would suspect the cargo container to have standard dimensions so that any of the thousands of planets in the Imperium could take a container and put it on a truck, a train, a grav vehicle, etc. Plus there is all the cargo handling equipment that would also stand to benefit from standardization. And we all know the Imperium is big on standardization! That really just leaves the weight of the container. In zero-g weight is zero, but mass counts for something. We handle that through Dtons. On the ground, however, weight CAN be a factor. But unless you are running GURPS and take into account both mass and weight, you can probably just discard that for gaming purposes. Who cares if you have 10 Dtons of marshmellow's or lead? They both take up the same amount of cargo space, right?
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Re: Cargo Transport

Postby Condottiere » Wed Nov 13, 2013 7:49 pm

Life stock would be classified as frozen, or free range.

You need to see subsector trade statistics to actually figure out how much cargo is being shipped, to where, and what type of freighter would be most economical in moving it.
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Re: Cargo Transport

Postby F33D » Wed Nov 13, 2013 8:39 pm

What you wrote up is pretty much how I handle the subject. Since I never run a Papers & Paychecks game this is all in the backround. Tramps don't typically travel between large worlds as the ULCS's (Ultra Large Container Ships) have those routes. Tramps sometimes find freight going from Large world to lower pop worlds.
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Re: Cargo Transport

Postby Somebody » Wed Nov 13, 2013 10:48 pm

GURPS MBA's and Bureaucrats aka Free Trader had quite a bit on containers and cargo. There where quite a few container types including a simple wiremesh box for breakbulk. And rules / equipment for loose cargo as well. Even today not everything is shipped in containers and not every port handles them. So even if your port of origin can handle containers your target might not and you end up with loose cargo. The typical player ship is closer to a large river frighten or a short haul ship [what we call a Kümo in german] that handles the last leg from the big ports to the final targets.
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Re: Cargo Transport

Postby F33D » Wed Nov 13, 2013 10:55 pm

0
Somebody wrote:Even today not everything is shipped in containers and not every port handles them.

Today over 90% of cargo is containerized. Most of the rest is bulk cargo (oil, grain, etc.)

You're behind the times for even today. ALL ports of significance handle containers now. I know that the Hottentots' raft dock doesn't though...
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Re: Cargo Transport

Postby darue » Wed Nov 13, 2013 11:26 pm

I would think the ULCS (like guild highliners) would jump in, drop containers for large non-jump capable in-system shuttles to pickup, or left to wait to transfer onto another ULCS and a tanker would refuel the ULCS as it maneuvers to get around the solar 100D bubble (if necessary) to move on to the next system. Total downtime in system: a day or three. Such ships would spend the vast majority of their time in jump space. Jump 2 would probably be their max speed, while most of the time they'd probably only make jump 1s. They might even maintain fuel for 3 or 4 jump 1s, enabling fast jump out should "unfavorable conditions" be found present in a given system or to skip tanker fuel transfer time on some jumps.

I suspect the ULCS network would be operated by the Imperium as a basic infrastructure while the in-system cargo shuttles and tankers would be operated by local contracting enterprises.

Smaller trade vessels and "liners" would be limited to profitable operations only in relative backwaters or possibly for priority cargo, fancy chartered tours, private projects, etc

Getting your system to be a stop on the ULCS network would be a huge thing for a star system, but is likely only an option for high population systems... Cheap imports could destroy local manufacturing capability. All worlds would strive to maintain a neutral balance of trade, you can't import unless you have stuff to export.

population 9 : one ULCS visits per month
population A: two or three ULCS visits per week

but frequency would to some extent be dictated by the shape of the network. Some few pop 8 or less worlds might get visits if the ships need to transit the system to get somewhere else.

Probably this system would only reach maybe 25-40% of imperial worlds.

all this assumes many worlds are not self-sufficient, which may be a flawed assumption. It is a little hard to believe any world would accept being unable to make enough food for it's population for instance. So imports could well be limited to luxury goods, tech not able to be made locally, persons and information.

It may be the Imperium, while it considers interstellar trade an essential thing, limits the total amount to encourage self-sufficiency. Which might be a reason for some "free traders" to encounter a slight degree of friction with Imperial authorities, particularly if they try to start moving major bulk quantities.

For instance, maybe a world is working on developing the tech and human expertise to make, support and operate autodocs, there could be some significant frowning done should a fat trader try to bring in 50 autodocs to sell.
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Re: Cargo Transport

Postby F33D » Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:47 am

darue wrote:
I suspect the ULCS network would be operated by the Imperium as a basic infrastructure while the in-system cargo shuttles and tankers would be operated by local contracting enterprises.
The 3I doesn't deal in cargo ships & freight. That isn't one of its functions. Purely private sector stuff.
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Re: Cargo Transport

Postby darue » Thu Nov 14, 2013 4:34 am

F33D wrote:
darue wrote:
I suspect the ULCS network would be operated by the Imperium as a basic infrastructure while the in-system cargo shuttles and tankers would be operated by local contracting enterprises.
The 3I doesn't deal in cargo ships & freight. That isn't one of its functions. Purely private sector stuff.
well, in MTU the immense value and expense of the Imperium+ Materials Transit Backbone System, like the X-boat system (for data only and which runs twice as fast as the materials transport network), justifies this being operated as an Imperial Subsidized Independent Department. The entire thing (or 90%) can be converted to essential wartime use in an emergency, but most of the time, it's self-financing with a huge cash-flow. Similar justification was used for the US interstate highway system. The cost of building out the network is estimated to have required the allocation of 2-4 Resource Units from every Sector every year for the first two decades. Probably the single largest Imperial investment other than the Navy itself.

Construction is still very much an on-going project in 1105, the MTBS buildout only being started during the third frontier war in 980. Ongoing capital investment for building new MTBS ships is much lower now, 125 years in. Though such construction continues to be an important means of profitably subsiding the existence of Yards and Persons capable of constructing such large craft.

Safety has been excellent, so far only one MTBS ship has been lost to misjump and one in war. Overall a very low rate of loss considering the vast number of jumps that have been made. The prospect of finding the lost vessel is a fantasy that's crossed many a spacer's mind since it vanished in 1095. If it is lost in deep space between stars, it's hoped some listening post or remote scout will detect a weak SignalGK from it's emergency beacon one day.

While the MTBS is changing the face of interstellar trade, squeezing the independent operators who prefer to make their own jumps, freelancers actually face less competition from corporate Lines, as the corp Lines are making plenty of money and kept busy handling the in-system onloading and offloading and filling containers. Trade has doubled since the mid 900s and longer shipments have become much more feasible and cost effective.

From the perspective of a traveler using it to get from one world to another a few sub-sectors over via low/med/hi passage, they would book transit with Tukerra or whoever, who gets them into a transit container bound for their destination, and arranges for pickup, or does it themselves, when the container is dropped off. So from the passenger or freight's point of view, they've never actually dealt with the MTBS.

standard container sizes carried would be something like:
small: 1000 dTons x 100
medium: 10,000 dTons x 20
large: 25,000 dTons x 8
maybe also a few extra-wide and/or wide&tall containers are sometimes loaded for shipping exceptionally large items.

an MTBS ship (Fesarius-class) is on the order of 1,000,000 dTons
~40% being power plant 2, 1g M-drive, jump-2 drive and fuel for 3 jump-1s and 3+weeks PP fuel. containers are self powered and capable of at least minimal self maneuvering. Some Lines may build their containers to BE the shuttles that go to the planets.
about 500,000 dTons of containers are carried.

Spherical hull configuration, containers stored in dual-channel "launch-tubes" that radiate inward from the surface. They're dual channel so containers stacked deep can be slid over and ejected from the 2nd tube.

want to get into the shipping business? Just go to MTBS's site, sign up for an account and start bidding on container point-to-point transits futures. You probably need to have secured your container a carriage-spot 4-6 months in advance, or else sublet from someone who did. A small spot market may exist as well for unsold carriage-spots. Then all you have to do is resell that space to whoever wants it. and all you have to buy is some non-jump capable cargo ships.

For the larger corporate Lines, they use main MTBS hub systems to occasionally re-aggregate cargo within containers. So occasionally some containers (themselves modular) are opened and things added or removed. This can usually be done before the next MTBS comes through, at which time the main containers continues on, often being delayed by only a few days.
Last edited by darue on Thu Nov 14, 2013 5:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
phavoc
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Re: Cargo Transport

Postby phavoc » Thu Nov 14, 2013 4:55 am

I would assume that the busier trading worlds would have around three layers of cargo port capabilities. The 'lowest' at the bottom of the gravity well would be the planet, which is the likely destination for much of all inbound cargo. The odds are that the planet will also contain the bulk of the population, though some systems, like say Trin's Veil, would not fit this model since they have no primary planet.

The second, middle, layer would be the orbital habitats surrounding the planet. There you would find stations, production platforms and some trans-shipment cargo stations that function essentially as orbital warehouses.

The outer ring, the one that would see a lot of trans-shipment, would be about 90-95 diameters from the planet. There you would find more cargo stations and trans-shipment platforms. It's in this region where the larger ships would swing by, drop off cargo and pick up new cargo. And you would probably see some passenger liners stopping here, though I would think that passengers with the planet as the destination would at least get to a lower orbit. But I suspect there would be some passenger traffic here. The big difference between passengers and cargo is that passengers would have to a) be cleared by customs before boarding shuttles, and b) paying passengers generally frown on being treated like cattle, especially if they are paying a premium price (economy and corpsicles don't get much of a choice).

Cargo would still have to be cleared, but if it was being dropped off for transit to another system then it could be relegated to duty-free custom zones. Anything else would need to be cleared by the local authorities before it could be delivered to the customers. All those nasty players doing smuggling for fun and profit I bet... :)

It's easy enough to set up these kinds of stations, say above and below the planet, to make it faster and easier for ships passing through. But to have that sort of duplicate orbital infrastructure you'd need the traffic to pay for it. Otherwise it would be cheaper to leave it in orbit around the planet.
darue wrote:well, in MTU the immense value and expense of the Imperium+ Materials Transit Backbone System, like the X-boat system (for data only and which runs twice as fast as the materials transport network), justifies this being operated as an Imperial Subsidized Independent Department. The entire thing (or 90%) can be converted to essential wartime use in an emergency, but most of the time, it's self-financing with a huge cash-flow. Similar justification was used for the US interstate highway system. The cost of building out the network is estimated to have required the allocation of 2-4 Resource Units from every Sector every year for the first two decades. Probably the single largest Imperial investment other than the Navy itself.
You certainly could have a state-owned private transport system. But most of the Traveller material leads us to believe that the Imperium doesn't get into the commercial side of things. That's what the Megacorps, Sector, sub-sector and local businesses do. Besides, all those nobles need to own companies to afford their luxurious lifestyle and expensive yachts and such. :)

As far as your cargo containers go, it's quite possible to make them that big. But keep in mind you'd need to have continual traffic to justify that. Most cargo shipping companies try to ensure their ships leave mostly or fully loaded. Anything else just doesn't make it profitable. Some planetary runs will have a lot of passenger and freight traffic between them, no question about that. And if you feel that it works best for your Traveller setting, more power to you!
Somebody wrote:GURPS MBA's and Bureaucrats aka Free Trader had quite a bit on containers and cargo. There where quite a few container types including a simple wiremesh box for breakbulk. And rules / equipment for loose cargo as well. Even today not everything is shipped in containers and not every port handles them. So even if your port of origin can handle containers your target might not and you end up with loose cargo. The typical player ship is closer to a large river frighten or a short haul ship [what we call a Kümo in german] that handles the last leg from the big ports to the final targets.
I will have to take a second look at the book. I know it had some info in there in reference to containers and such. I haven't looked at it in a while though. Thanks for pointing that out.

And sure, there is always a need for loose cargo. Though I would suspect that most stuff would get stuffed into smaller containers for transit, if only because you are talking about space, zero-g and a very hazardous atmosphere. At least in a smaller container anything you have would be self-contained. A shrink-wrapped pallet works in a gravity field, but if you get a failure, your packages may float away. I loaded air cargo at UPS for a few holidays (and trailers the rest of the year) and everything we did was pretty much self-contained. All the loose envelopes were always bagged up because it made sorting easier. Boxes above a certain size were hand-loaded. It actually was pretty efficient because you had to load it by hand. Plus we were smart monkeys, and we were able to usually optomize the loadout regardless of the shape or size of the packages (and FYI... the video's they show you when you get hired of neat, uniform sized boxes slowly coming down a conveyor... lies!!!)
Condottiere
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Re: Cargo Transport

Postby Condottiere » Thu Nov 14, 2013 8:19 am

Megacorps shipping lines might have their own private terminals/stations set up to receive freight and passengers, and if Low Passage is the most popular form of travel, a good medical facility.

The Imperium might be more interested in Anti-Trust concerns and restrictions on commerce.
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Re: Cargo Transport

Postby Somebody » Thu Nov 14, 2013 9:53 am

F33D wrote:0
Somebody wrote:Even today not everything is shipped in containers and not every port handles them.

Today over 90% of cargo is containerized. Most of the rest is bulk cargo (oil, grain, etc.)

You're behind the times for even today. ALL ports of significance handle containers now. I know that the Hottentots' raft dock doesn't though...
Yawn. Re-read where I see tramps operating and what I compared them to. Hint: Not the big ones like Maersk.

And when it comes to small local traffic overlooking the largest channel harbor in Europe is helpful for insight. At a certain point in the system a 40" container is no longer handable and gets repackt to palettes and other small units. Or the other way round. There is a sizeable industries for that around. Add in that the real world trucks handle part of this distribution from the ships today taking over from channel barges since the 1960s. That traffic also ends up with the small trade ships.
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Re: Cargo Transport

Postby rust » Thu Nov 14, 2013 10:17 am

darue wrote: standard container sizes carried would be something like:
small: 1000 dTons x 100
medium: 10,000 dTons x 20
large: 25,000 dTons x 8
maybe also a few extra-wide and/or wide&tall containers are sometimes loaded for shipping exceptionally large items.
The size of the containers would depend somewhat on the planetary logistics capabilities, the
favourite type of container would be one that can be handled easily by the planetary transport
network, just like today in the real world the preferred container is the one which can be loa-
ded onto a railcar or truck. I think that this would tend to limit the use of very large containers,
while they might make sense for interstellar transport they would require additional work once
their content has to be fed into a planetary logistics system.
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Re: Cargo Transport

Postby F33D » Thu Nov 14, 2013 1:20 pm

Somebody wrote: Yawn.
Yawn all you want. The figures you stated are dead wrong.
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Re: Cargo Transport

Postby simonh » Thu Nov 14, 2013 3:16 pm

F33D wrote:
Somebody wrote: Yawn.
Yawn all you want. The figures you stated are dead wrong.
I'm not following you, I don't think 'Somebody' quoted any figures.

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Re: Cargo Transport

Postby locarno24 » Thu Nov 14, 2013 3:18 pm

This does - to an extent - already exist, because I think the capital-ship class freighters explicitely move cargo in containers.

Agree about the maximum practical container size, but, you may well find - for massive bulk work - containers of containers. Whilst there's a standard, double length, and so on, container, today, I wouldn't be surprised that if you were planning logistics in the Imperium, you might not create an 'interstellar shipping module' which was explicitely designed to pack twenty or more 'standard containers', allowing megafreighters to essentially tag "this module for Regina highport" and let the containers inside it be broken down into the planet's logistics system.

I would probably size basic 'shipping' containers around modular cutters; it makes sense as they're pretty representative of 'generic' handling craft that might be doing your space-to-surface shipping, and 30 dTons is a nice, useful size for commercial cargo.
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Re: Cargo Transport

Postby phavoc » Thu Nov 14, 2013 3:40 pm

=
Condottiere wrote:Megacorps shipping lines might have their own private terminals/stations set up to receive freight and passengers, and if Low Passage is the most popular form of travel, a good medical facility.

The Imperium might be more interested in Anti-Trust concerns and restrictions on commerce.
Agreed. Imperium works to keep the peace between the worlds, and owns the space between them. So it would (or should) always be on the lookout for too much squeezing. Thus far it
s\eems like it isn't terribly corrupt from everything I've read.
\
Somebody wrote:Yawn. Re-read where I see tramps operating and what I compared them to. Hint: Not the big ones like Maersk.

And when it comes to small local traffic overlooking the largest channel harbor in Europe is helpful for insight. At a certain point in the system a 40" container is no longer handable and gets repackt to palettes and other small units. Or the other way round. There is a sizeable industries for that around. Add in that the real world trucks handle part of this distribution from the ships today taking over from channel barges since the 1960s. That traffic also ends up with the small trade ships.
F33D is correct, in that about 90% of the total world's freight moves by shipping container. But there's some caveats built into that. First, that's excluding things like oil, grain, ore, etc, or those cargo's that get transported in bulk. Secondly, from a shipping perspective, most trans-oceanic cargo moves on the mega-freighters to hub ports. Then smaller container ships (those that carry just a few hundred) take the cargo and move it to the smaller ports. Some containers even get moved by barge. It all depends on the final destination. It's more economical to transport 5,000 containers from Shanghai to the Bahamas, and then for smaller ships that can dock in smaller island ports to pick up 70 containers for US Virgin Islands, 60 for Antigua, etc.

But cargo's don't get broken down, or essentially unloaded from the containers, until they get as close as possible to their final distribution destinations. A container of TV's imported from China will get dropped off at Long Beach, loaded on to a rail car and taken by train to Columbus Ohio rail yard, then get unloaded and driven to a local Best Buy distribution center. Then they'll get repackaged for truck/rail travel to regional distribution centers or to individual stores if they are in range. Sometimes they'll use the existing logistic shippers (UPS) to do their freight forwarding.

Keep in mind regional areas will do different things. Transport by water, ton-for-ton, is the cheapest mode of transportation. But you don't ship certain classes of cargo that way. You ship bulk cargo's like coal or grain, that don't expire and shipping costs are essential because you ship so much of it. An Ipod? Meh, that will ship air-freight from China because it's light and valuable.
rust wrote:The size of the containers would depend somewhat on the planetary logistics capabilities, the favourite type of container would be one that can be handled easily by the planetary transport network, just like today in the real world the preferred container is the one which can be loaded onto a railcar or truck. I think that this would tend to limit the use of very large containers, while they might make sense for interstellar transport they would require additional work once their content has to be fed into a planetary logistics system.
That's exactly how it works today. Sure you could make different containers, but without standards you'd find the whole network grinding to a halt. Plus a 1,000Dton container would be a bitch to land. But it works great as a package to hold lots of other smaller containers that could easily be transloaded onto smaller lighters and distributed planetside. But that 1,000 Dton container sure does make it easy to attach/load onto a jump freighter to send to the next system.
locarno24 wrote: I would probably size basic 'shipping' containers around modular cutters; it makes sense as they're pretty representative of 'generic' handling craft that might be doing your space-to-surface shipping, and 30 dTons is a nice, useful size for commercial cargo.
I agree with you. Though I'm not sure the 30Dton cutter module would be appropriate. You'd actually want something that was more cubic in design. They stack better and load better (onto trailers/trains, etc and internally).

Today the standard shipping container is based upon the trucks and rail capabilities that were already in existence (like the funny story behind how they came up with standard rail gauges.. at least in the US). You'll want to have some variety, but you can't have TOO much variety - that's just as bad. Whatever you are transporting in your freighters also needs to be handled by ground craft. And not every planet is going to have access to grav lifters, or have the space to haul a 30Dton module around (lengthwise it's about equivalent to today's containers, but it's much taller than a standard one). Though since we work in Dton's it's not a huge issue, just a thought.
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Re: Cargo Transport

Postby Somebody » Thu Nov 14, 2013 4:49 pm

phavoc wrote:=
Condottiere wrote:Megacorps shipping lines might have their own private terminals/stations set up to receive freight and passengers, and if Low Passage is the most popular form of travel, a good medical facility.

The Imperium might be more interested in Anti-Trust concerns and restrictions on commerce.
Agreed. Imperium works to keep the peace between the worlds, and owns the space between them. So it would (or should) always be on the lookout for too much squeezing. Thus far it
s\eems like it isn't terribly corrupt from everything I've read.
\
Somebody wrote:Yawn. Re-read where I see tramps operating and what I compared them to. Hint: Not the big ones like Maersk.

And when it comes to small local traffic overlooking the largest channel harbor in Europe is helpful for insight. At a certain point in the system a 40" container is no longer handable and gets repackt to palettes and other small units. Or the other way round. There is a sizeable industries for that around. Add in that the real world trucks handle part of this distribution from the ships today taking over from channel barges since the 1960s. That traffic also ends up with the small trade ships.
F33D is correct, in that about 90% of the total world's freight moves by shipping container. But there's some caveats built into that. First, that's excluding things like oil, grain, ore, etc, or those cargo's that get transported in bulk. Secondly, from a shipping perspective, most trans-oceanic cargo moves on the mega-freighters to hub ports. Then smaller container ships (those that carry just a few hundred) take the cargo and move it to the smaller ports. Some containers even get moved by barge. It all depends on the final destination. It's more economical to transport 5,000 containers from Shanghai to the Bahamas, and then for smaller ships that can dock in smaller island ports to pick up 70 containers for US Virgin Islands, 60 for Antigua, etc.

But cargo's don't get broken down, or essentially unloaded from the containers, until they get as close as possible to their final distribution destinations. A container of TV's imported from China will get dropped off at Long Beach, loaded on to a rail car and taken by train to Columbus Ohio rail yard, then get unloaded and driven to a local Best Buy distribution center. Then they'll get repackaged for truck/rail travel to regional distribution centers or to individual stores if they are in range. Sometimes they'll use the existing logistic shippers (UPS) to do their freight forwarding.

Keep in mind regional areas will do different things. Transport by water, ton-for-ton, is the cheapest mode of transportation. But you don't ship certain classes of cargo that way. You ship bulk cargo's like coal or grain, that don't expire and shipping costs are essential because you ship so much of it. An Ipod? Meh, that will ship air-freight from China because it's light and valuable.
And that is exactly what I said. The sub 1000 dt freighters that player characters crew are at the very end of the transport system. The trucks and short haul ships that do the final step. Often quite some distance even where waterways exist lRL since the demand of Just In Time will not fit a ship nor a container. The crew delivers to the low class ports and backwater worlds that might have problems filling a 4dt imperiaI standard container. Where no single order is big enough for that package size.Where palatt cages are the typical shipping package.
phavoc
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Re: Cargo Transport

Postby phavoc » Thu Nov 14, 2013 5:15 pm

Somebody wrote:And that is exactly what I said. The sub 1000 dt freighters that player characters crew are at the very end of the transport system. The trucks and short haul ships that do the final step. Often quite some distance even where waterways exist lRL since the demand of Just In Time will not fit a ship nor a container. The crew delivers to the low class ports and backwater worlds that might have problems filling a 4dt imperiaI standard container. Where no single order is big enough for that package size.Where palatt cages are the typical shipping package.
Oh, sorry, I missed the agreement point. :)
Somebody
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Re: Cargo Transport

Postby Somebody » Thu Nov 14, 2013 9:03 pm

phavoc wrote:
Somebody wrote:And that is exactly what I said. The sub 1000 dt freighters that player characters crew are at the very end of the transport system. The trucks and short haul ships that do the final step. Often quite some distance even where waterways exist lRL since the demand of Just In Time will not fit a ship nor a container. The crew delivers to the low class ports and backwater worlds that might have problems filling a 4dt imperiaI standard container. Where no single order is big enough for that package size.Where palatt cages are the typical shipping package.
Oh, sorry, I missed the agreement point. :)
This new fangled language from that cold barbarian country in the northern seas in common use in this forum may have to do with it. Not yet a thousand years old, that can not work. I suggest we switch to a language that every educated and civilized man speaks- classic greek!
phavoc
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Re: Cargo Transport

Postby phavoc » Thu Nov 14, 2013 10:37 pm

Somebody wrote:This new fangled language from that cold barbarian country in the northern seas in common use in this forum may have to do with it. Not yet a thousand years old, that can not work. I suggest we switch to a language that every educated and civilized man speaks- classic greek!
What? How Euro-centric of you!

I demand we linguistically duel in Esperanto! Or Klingon. Either made-up language is appropriate for the Interwebz.

Or..

In Esperanto - Mi postulas ni lingve duelo en Esperanto! Aŭ Klingona. Ĉu tiajn elpensitajn lingvo estas taŭga por la Interwebz.

In Klingon - mi postulas ni lingve duelo vI esperanto! aŭ klingona. De Ĉu tiajn elpensitajn lingvo estas taŭga por la interwebz.

Just FYI.. Bing has a English to Klingon on converter. It's much prettier, but unreadable here, in native Klingon. :wink:

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