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Impact of scale increase of container ships on the generalised chain cost
Van Hassel, E.; Meersman, H.; Van de Voorde, E.; Vanelslander, T. (2016). Impact of scale increase of container ships on the generalised chain cost. Marit. Policy Manage. 43(2): 192-208.
In: Maritime Policy and Management. Taylor & Francis: London. ISSN 0308-8839, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Container ships; Ports; Marine
Author keywords
    Maritime logistics chains; Hinterland transportation; Scale increase

Authors  Top 
  • Van Hassel, E., more
  • Meersman, H., more
  • Van de Voorde, E., more
  • Vanelslander, T., more

    In recent years, an increase in the size of the container ships could be observed. The question is how these larger ships will influence the total generalised costs from a port of loading to a destination in the European hinterland. The second question is whether a scale increase of the container ships on other loops, such as a loop from the United States to Europe, has the same impact on the generalised chain costs as on the loop from Asia to Europe. A derived question is which element of the total chain has the highest importance, and whether this balance varies as the ship size changes. In this article, a model is developed that allows answering the above research questions. The model is designed to simulate the cost of a complete loop of a container ship and of a chain that uses that same loop. For the chain cost simulation, the maritime part is determined by the loop. From the ports of loading and unloading, the port container handling and the hinterland transportation costs are also integrated. The model also allows calculating the total chain cost from a point of origin (either a hinterland region or a port) to a destination point (also a port or a hinterland region). An actual container loop of a container shipping company can be introduced in the model. An application is made to two existing container loops, namely from Asia respectively the United States to Europe. It turns out that changing ship does indeed lead to economies of scale, but also that the impact is larger on the Asia–Europe connection than on the US–Europe connection. Furthermore, the maritime component has the biggest share in the total chain cost, but as ship size increases, the shares start getting closer to each other. This research contributes to the existing literature in two ways. First of all, it quantifies the impact of the scale increase of container ships throughout the total chain. Second, this is done from a bottom-up engineering modelling approach.

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