Is bigger always better – Economies of scale and gigantism in shipping

Opinion Piece

The winds of change within the context of containerized shipping have been sweeping to say the least. In the pursuit of environmental sustainability, digitalization, operational and commercial efficiency, and collaborative practices the containerized fleet and the industries commercial practices have been radically modified over a significantly short period of time.

With gigantism being the most popular trend currently pursued by the world’s major carriers a new global context has concurrently begun to rear its head.

The emergence of colossal vessels along primary routes has led to the resultant cascade of maritime traffic along secondary and tertiary routes.

Thus, whilst the argument for economies of scale relative to container vessel sizes makes for a seemingly sensible commercial case, such developments have the potential to seriously impact ports and the entirety of logistics chain, including production.

This begs the question is bigger always better and what alternatives exist?

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