Chapter 13: An Analysis of Short Sea Shipping as an Alternative for Freight Transport
Lourdes Trujillo, Francesca Medda and María M. González 13.1 Introduction Short sea shipping (SSS) is considered one of the most sustainable and economically competitive modes of transport compared to road haulage. In spite of this, and the efforts to promote it, this mode of transport is not believed to be especially attractive to freight handlers, in part because they are almost entirely unaware of its positive qualities. From the vantage point of the transport system as a whole, the role of short sea shipping may be either as a substitute for, or a complement to, other transport modes; when providing alternative transport services in the same point-to-point market already served by road transport or conventional rail services, it acts as a competitor. Conversely, SSS also complements road transport and rail services. On any given city-pair corridor, most of the relative advantage of SSS services is traditionally attributed to its lower environmental impact, which favours direct journeys over medium distances; whereas longer journeys tend to be dominated by deepsea transport, and shorter trips are mostly carried out by road or conventional rail. When the journey involves more than one mode, the choice of SSS critically depends on its integration within the overall transport system. As a consequence, we may deduce that the market advantage of SSS and, presumably, its impact on modal choice, varies as all the components of the generalized cost for goods vary as well: the relative price of transport, quality and reliability, and integration of SSS...
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