Part of my star port rules

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sideranautae
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Part of my star port rules

Postby sideranautae » Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:17 pm

While writing my star port "rules" I was looking at fuel prices in Trav. vs. ANY type of reality. In trav starports ships are charged Cr100 for 13,500 liters of water. In places in the USA where water is scarce the cost is ~Cr3 for 13,500 liters of water. This is also about what ships and airlines are charged in ports for water.

Even with "surcharges" I don't think that most unrefined fuel would cost more than Cr5 per Ton unless it has to be imported to the main world from elsewhere in the solar system.

Any other logical arguments for water being the new gold?

N.B. this is for ground facilities only
Last edited by sideranautae on Mon Jun 23, 2014 5:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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GypsyComet
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Re: Part of my star port rules

Postby GypsyComet » Mon Jun 23, 2014 4:14 pm

The US also has a broad tendency to not charge for the water itself, as that is a "public resource". Public water systems and other entities are charging for just the treatment and delivery, in theory.

Despite some cultural similarities (so we can understand the setting enough to play in it) the Imperium is not the US. You aren't simply renting the water or hydrogen, you are buying it outright.
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sideranautae
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Re: Part of my star port rules

Postby sideranautae » Mon Jun 23, 2014 4:23 pm

GypsyComet wrote:The US also has a broad tendency to not charge for the water itself, as that is a "public resource". Public water systems and other entities are charging for just the treatment and delivery, in theory.
No. The rates I checked are for private water utilities not public. Cost is paid by the consumer. I'm sure that rates for gov subsidized would be lower than what I listed though. Even cities that desalinate have a cost that is roughly what I listed. MANY orders of magnitude lower than the Trav rules.

So, doesn't explain the Trav prices.
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phavoc
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Re: Part of my star port rules

Postby phavoc » Mon Jun 23, 2014 4:40 pm

Fuel pricing isn't related to reality. The price you would pay for water in Timbuktu will be more than what you pay for it in Miami. There are a lot of underlying issues related to the price of the water, such as cost of infrastructure (pumps, pipes, personnel), availability, whether or not the local SPA uses it to make money, etc.

Plus the costs were standardized across the game. It would be a bitch for a ref to have to track fuel prices at each individual starport, and players would bitch if they had to pay -60%..+60% of the listed book price to the local fuel police.

From a game mechanics standpoint it works to keep the prices standardized everywhere you go. With fuel processors being cheap and relatively small, most ships are going to be purchasing unrefined fuel and processing it themselves, especially players who like to hold on to every millicredit they can. :)
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Re: Part of my star port rules

Postby GypsyComet » Mon Jun 23, 2014 4:45 pm

Based on the "private water" argument, "Capitalism" and "Built in taxation" are all the explanation you need. Perfectly logical to some, completely illogical to others, all at the same time.

Fuel prices in the OTU are not the prime driver of ship econ as it is. Driving those prices down below the round-off accomplishes little. An ATU could easily drop everything by an order of magnitude and move on to stickier issues.
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sideranautae
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Re: Part of my star port rules

Postby sideranautae » Mon Jun 23, 2014 4:56 pm

phavoc wrote:Fuel pricing isn't related to reality.
Right. That is what my rules fixes. Anyplace with a Star port (thus high TL) and world is okay temp & Hydro 2+ (which is higher hydro than my area where water comes from) the price is ~Cr5/ton for unrefined. May vary by 100% higher on worlds without adequate hydro number.

Of course like you said if you land somewhere with a TL very low, it may cost a lot more. But, that precludes a real star port and thus, doesn't apply to this post or rule. If it has to be brought to the main world via ship THEN the price goes even higher than in Trav rules.
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Matt Wilson
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Re: Part of my star port rules

Postby Matt Wilson » Mon Jun 23, 2014 5:19 pm

I think that all makes sense. What I would wonder as the operator of a starport, is "what can I do to make money from a ship that lands?" and if I can't get it from selling water, then what?

Welcome to Wilson Downport! Free water for all ships!
Hose connection charge: 10cr
per hour of labor: 25 cr
mandatory starship window squeegee: 5cr
Drowning insurance: 3cr

etc.
sideranautae
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Re: Part of my star port rules

Postby sideranautae » Mon Jun 23, 2014 5:28 pm

Matt Wilson wrote:I think that all makes sense. What I would wonder as the operator of a starport, is "what can I do to make money from a ship that lands?" and if I can't get it from selling water, then what?

Welcome to Wilson Downport! Free water for all ships!
Hose connection charge: 10cr
per hour of labor: 25 cr
mandatory starship window squeegee: 5cr
Drowning insurance: 3cr

etc.
If you base it off of a General/commercial aviation system, there are port docking fee's. Cargo transfer fees. Sales tax on EVERYTHING including passage tickets. Airports have lots of ways to make money. Charging 2000% sales tax on fuel wouldn't be one that really "flies" though.
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rust
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Re: Part of my star port rules

Postby rust » Mon Jun 23, 2014 6:49 pm

sideranautae wrote: Any other logical arguments for water being the new gold?
It depends on whether the starship is required to land at the starport
and to buy the fuel there, because in this case the starport has the
ship's crew over a barrel and can - and most probably will - demand
whatever the customer is likely to be able to pay. Without any legal
competition and with a total monopoly on the fuel the ship has to buy
in order to operate not even the sky is the limit for the fuel price. Un-
der such circumstances the 100 Cr for a ton of fuel seem almost poli-
te, after all it is an offer one cannot refuse ...
sideranautae
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Re: Part of my star port rules

Postby sideranautae » Mon Jun 23, 2014 6:54 pm

rust wrote:
sideranautae wrote: Any other logical arguments for water being the new gold?
It depends on whether the starship is required to land at the starport
and to buy the fuel there, because in this case the starport has the
ship's crew over a barrel and can - and most probably will - demand
whatever the customer is likely to be able to pay. Without any legal
competition and with a total monopoly on the fuel the ship has to buy
in order to operate not even the sky is the limit for the fuel price. Un-
der such circumstances the 100 Cr for a ton of fuel seem almost poli-
te, after all it is an offer one cannot refuse ...
Life doesn't always work like that. You screw your econ lifeline long enough and it'll come back and cut your throat. That's why you don't see this in real world ports... ;) Otherwise you WOULD. But, you don't. That's the sanity check.

If you doubt, check fuel prices at Port of LB/Los Angeles, et al...

Now, if a port DID do that. The freight charges would rise to offset and the ship would be back to paying an effective rate of Cr5/ton... Why? because the Market is ALWAYS right...
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Matt Wilson
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Re: Part of my star port rules

Postby Matt Wilson » Mon Jun 23, 2014 7:05 pm

Maybe it's only 500cr/dTon if you want sparkling water. :)

How are you going to address the refined/unrefined fuel rules in your revisions? I would assume something like 5-6cr/dT to make it appealing to ships in a hurry?
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Re: Part of my star port rules

Postby rust » Mon Jun 23, 2014 7:06 pm

sideranautae wrote: Life doesn't always work like that. You screw your econ lifeline long enough and it'll come back and cut your throat. That's why you don't see this in real world ports...
Real world ports have alternatives, the port of Los Angeles is not the only
port on the West Coast of the USA and has to compete with other ports in
the region. A starport is often the only port of the entire planet, there is
often no legal alternative. As long as the fuel price is not high enough to
shut down a significant part of the planet's foreign trade, there is no other
incentive to keep it low - and 100 Cr per ton is certainly not high enough
to make foreign trade unattractive.
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Re: Part of my star port rules

Postby sideranautae » Mon Jun 23, 2014 7:12 pm

rust wrote: Real world ports have alternatives, the port of Los Angeles is not the only
port on the West Coast of the USA
Traveling hundreds of miles while empty isn't an alternative for those huge cargo ships. It would BK them based on their operating margins and schedules.

I'm sorry, but it doesn't work econ wise. No matter how much you want it to. I'm just getting rid of illogical rules. I'm not trying to shoehorn the illogic.
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rust
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Re: Part of my star port rules

Postby rust » Mon Jun 23, 2014 7:22 pm

sideranautae wrote: No matter how much you want it to.
Actually I don't care. In my settings the traders have long term contracts
with colony planets and there get the fuel free, as part of the starport ser-
vices covered by a single landing fee, which depends on the tonnage of
the ship and the duration of the contract - the longer the contract, the lo-
wer the fee.
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Re: Part of my star port rules

Postby GypsyComet » Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:38 pm

sideranautae wrote: ... it doesn't work econ wise. No matter how much you want it to.
It might, but there are very large parts of the assumed Traveller infrastructure and economic picture that are invisible to the rules. The presented econ models are specific to small ships around the edges AND are meant to make the game interesting. The big guys may not be paying those rates, but the game isn't about them so we don't have that information.

Does that change your ATU solution? That's up to you.
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phavoc
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Re: Part of my star port rules

Postby phavoc » Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:56 pm

sideranautae wrote:
phavoc wrote:Fuel pricing isn't related to reality.
Right. That is what my rules fixes. Anyplace with a Star port (thus high TL) and world is okay temp & Hydro 2+ (which is higher hydro than my area where water comes from) the price is ~Cr5/ton for unrefined. May vary by 100% higher on worlds without adequate hydro number.

Of course like you said if you land somewhere with a TL very low, it may cost a lot more. But, that precludes a real star port and thus, doesn't apply to this post or rule. If it has to be brought to the main world via ship THEN the price goes even higher than in Trav rules.
You've got a problem with your model here. A TL3 planet can have a Class A starport. A TL7 planet can have a Class D. TL of a planet <> starport levels.

Secondly if you are going to change the fuel model you'll need to have at least a two-tiered system. The cost for unrefined fuel pumped from the local sea might be 5Cr/Dton at the downport. But it will need to be much higher at the highport (if there is one) because you also have to factor in the cost of shuttle pilots, shuttles, storage and infrastructure. Then, if you want to proceed along your reality curve a player would have to determine if it's worth staying at the high port and saving the few hours it would take to land/liftoff. Or, if your high port was further out, say around the 100D mark, that's an even longer time to travel. What would be the ROI on paying the higher price in orbit?

To me it's not worth the hassle of trying to model all these other parameters. If it somehow added to the game then yeah, I'd be ok. I have created a hydrogen fueling system at the industrial scale that collects and ships tens of thousands of tons of fuel at a time. But I've not tried to put costs to it because it's a NPC industrial infrastructure environment and the PC's don't run around building multi-million Cr industrial facilities. The price of high tech gas just isn't that big of a deal to me. I would rather flesh out other areas of the game that help provide background and flavor. But that's just me.
rust wrote:
sideranautae wrote: Life doesn't always work like that. You screw your econ lifeline long enough and it'll come back and cut your throat. That's why you don't see this in real world ports...
Real world ports have alternatives, the port of Los Angeles is not the only port on the West Coast of the USA and has to compete with other ports in the region. A starport is often the only port of the entire planet, there is often no legal alternative. As long as the fuel price is not high enough to
shut down a significant part of the planet's foreign trade, there is no other incentive to keep it low - and 100 Cr per ton is certainly not high enough to make foreign trade unattractive.
It's not that simple. The Los Angeles area has two major ports, then there is San Franciso, Portland and Seattle/Tacoma area to the north and San Diego to the south. The issues facing the west coast ports are one of infrastructure. Dropping off the containers isn't enough. They have to get to their final destinations (the south, middle america and the east coast). When the upgrade to the canal is done the larger container ships can travel directly through to ports along the gulf coast and eastern seaboard. A stack train leaving the port of los angeles might be 120-140 cars long, which is 280 containers - a mere pittance for the size of these ships. A ship delivering 5000 containers directly to New York or Houston, even with 3-5 days travel time can save hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more) on just shipping costs from the port, let alone speed delivery of goods.

And planets have one Primary Imperial starport, but can have literally hundreds more spread all over the place. Balkanized planets are going to have the most, but smaller cities are going to have starports to handle smaller local haulers and private craft. The big boys might only call at the primary, or say a handful of local ports.
rust wrote:
sideranautae wrote: No matter how much you want it to.
Actually I don't care. In my settings the traders have long term contracts with colony planets and there get the fuel free, as part of the starport serices covered by a single landing fee, which depends on the tonnage of the ship and the duration of the contract - the longer the contract, the lower the fee.
It makes sense that regularly scheduled freight has the price for fuel built into the delivery price. And if you are changing the cost of fuel from what's in the OTU there's no reason why you need to stay tied to the pricing models for berthing fees too.

Though economically speaking, having a longer-term contract doesn't do anything really for the price of a commodity such as fuel. Since it's just water you won't get any long-term effeciences in cost savings that you can potentially pass on. In fact, assuming you factor in depreciation, at some point there will need to be price increases as you have to start replacing equipment.
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Re: Part of my star port rules

Postby Galadrion » Tue Jun 24, 2014 4:25 am

In trav starports ships are charged Cr100 for 13,500 liters of water.
Okay, you are not paying that price for water - you're paying it for that volume of ultrapure, liquified hydrogen. That means that the water (probably more than one displacement ton, in order to yield a displacement ton of fuel) has to be electrolyzed - which probably involves a considerable amount of initial purification, as contaminants will drastically reduce your equipment's lifespan - and then the hydrogen needs to be collected (easy with even modern industrial techniques), purified (we can do this today, but the degree of purification implied goes further than most industrial processes today use - and that means it's going to be more expensive than we usually face), and then refrigerated and compressed to the point that the hydrogen condenses into liquid rather than gas. (The pressure involved - a little over 13 standard atmospheres - is not that extreme for an industrial process, but the temperature - around 20 degrees Kelvin - is.) This is going to be the expensive part of fuel refinement, although storage - in particular, safe storage - is also going to be a considerable factor in the cost; accidents involving large quantities of liquid hydrogen are going to be loud and dangerous.

In short, the price of the raw material (water) is, as usual, going to be a very small part of the overall price.

(Incidentally, the price of liquid hydrogen in the US today runs about $5.50 per kilogram. One displacement ton - 13,500 liters - masses about 945 kilograms, meaning your ton of fuel would cost about $5197.50... and this is for hydrogen purified to the point useful for combustion processes, not fusion processes. Jump fuel is quite likely to need more refinement than that, and thus be pricier. A price point of $6000 would not be unreasonable, and in fact may be on the low side.)
Last edited by Galadrion on Tue Jun 24, 2014 4:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
phavoc
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Re: Part of my star port rules

Postby phavoc » Tue Jun 24, 2014 4:38 am

Galadrion wrote:
In trav starports ships are charged Cr100 for 13,500 liters of water.
In short, the price of the raw material (water) is, as usual, going to be a very small part of the overall price.
Actually, no. The Cr100/Dton is for unrefined fuel, i.e. just tap water. For a ground port your cost is pumping, storage and handling. Depending on how freely available water is, at an industrial sized plant it's quite cheap - especially since you don't need to purify it, just filter the larger particulate matter out.

The C500/ton is the refined stuff (which is what you were describing).
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Re: Part of my star port rules

Postby GypsyComet » Tue Jun 24, 2014 4:59 am

phavoc wrote: The Cr100/Dton is for unrefined fuel, i.e. just tap water.
We tend to charge very little here on Earth because we are literally swimming in the stuff, and in most cases that water is not being destroyed, just cycled.

With fusion that changes. You are filling up a ship's tanks with tens of thousands of gallons every two weeks, then destroying all of it. It will never be water again. The waste products aren't even being vented in a useful place; they are also leaving the planet for good. For worlds with only 20% water coverage, a busy starport is an eventual death sentence unless they fly their fuel in from a handy gas giant.

Thus my earlier assertion: We *rent* water on Earth and recycle 99.999% eventually. In Traveller, you *own* your fuel and will be destroying it tomorrow.
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Re: Part of my star port rules

Postby Infojunky » Tue Jun 24, 2014 6:38 am

Galadrion wrote: (probably more than one displacement ton, in order to yield a displacement ton of fuel)
Nope, the back envelope calculation is 9 cubic meters of water per ton of Hydrogen....
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