Tall ship vs Freighter: which is economically superior?

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by PaiMei, Oct 25, 2009.

  1. PaiMei
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    PaiMei Junior Member

    Hi!

    We had a discussion last night about the future of sea transportation and especially the question, if a 130 meter Tall ship (4 or 5 mast) would be competitive against a standard multipurpose freighter same size. It would safe a lot of bunker (which makes about 50% of operating cost on a freighter we learned) but it would be probably a lot more expenesive to be build.


    The questions were:

    What does it cost to build a Tall ship of 130 Meters? We do know that a standard freighter of that size cost about 25 Mio. € (build in Europe) or 25 Mio. $ build in Asia. The Tall ship does not need the main engine which would save some 3 Mio. But the rig would be a real issue. But we had no idea what the rig for a 4 or 5 mast schooner rig oder square rig or whatever would cost.

    Does anyone know what the price tag was on the rig of Maltese Falcon or EOS (built by Lürssen in Germany)?

    Who would be the designer for such a rig?

    Is there any one known in Europe for having a real expertise in that topic? I found some tall ship projects (Sea Cloud Hussar, EOS, Maltese etc.) but not really freighters of >100 Meter.

    Thanks for your ideas and your help!

    Jan


    P.S. I placed a bet of 20 € that the Tall ship would be economically superior. Is this money lost?
     
  2. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    Die Wette is verloren Jan!
    That bet is lost.

    We would see our oceans full of tall ships if there was just a small advantage over a motorship! Wind is not very reliable as we all know, so time schedules are not possible! Additional crew is the largest factor in expenses. And the savings in the engine part is not that dramatic, there still has to be a big, commercial ships engine.

    The kite assistance may be a more common approach in a few years. You know Skysails Hamburg!

    Regards
    Richard

    Maltese Falcon was about 100 mio $, almost 40% of that amount was in the rig.
     
  3. PaiMei
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    PaiMei Junior Member

    it cannot be that simple

    I think that is too simple.

    Wind is not very reliable. Yes. BUT on certain routes, lets say Spain - Cuba and return we have pretty constant wind systems which would suite the demand für a "more or less" precise timing.

    I would agree that the Tall ship is no competitor for a container ship because the schedule is very important. But how about bulk carrier, MPF etc? Coal does not mind if it is 2 or 3 days longer on the way.

    Why should extra crew be an issue? Look at Maltese Falcon. They do all the sail handling with hydraulics etc. No need for extra crew.

    The bunker savings would be dramatic even if you carry a midsize engine for those occasion where you cannot avoid to hit the doldrums (I would actually gues that with modern routing systems you can reduce this risk to a minimum)

    The rig of Maltese was 40m? That could possibly be a killer argument even though I would guess that you can build large rigs for a lot less.
     
  4. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Cargo is a price driven business. If someone finds a way to save money, they will. Sailing ships are not economically competitive. During the 70's oil crisis, the Japanese experimented with sail assisted crude carriers. They disappeared because they didn't make the money they projected.
    The rig would limit the areas the ship could berth because of height restrictions too.
    Pai Mei: you claim "the bunker savings would be dramatic even if you carry a midsize engine". The engine needs to be bigger because of the extra windage.
     
  5. yipster
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    yipster designer

    think the reply's are spot on but dont underestimate a tall ships sails
    here some time back on a similar thread i got very impressed with tall ships power
     
  6. wardd
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    wardd Senior Member

    2 or 3 days late to unload may make a few people ashore unhappy and screw up their scheduling
     
  7. RHP
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    RHP Senior Member

    Realistically it would have to be a '50/50' motorsailor to ensure schedules would be met, but once a number of orders were secured rig costs would fall dramatically. Tom Perkins invested a fistfull in R&D and MF sailed at 24.9 knots, but to shift a 50,000 tonner mightnt be so straightforward.

    I guess there would be an optimum tonnage after which it wouldnt be feasible.
     
  8. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    It still works for small boats. There are coastal traders and passenger boats running on sail alone. However, they service communities that are not on tight schedules and the owner/operators live on small wages.
     
  9. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    To the schedules,
    a ship has a given time to amortize the capital cost, otherwise you´ll find no bank or fonds to finance it. The more yourneys the junk makes, the sooner the ROI. Lengthening a trip by choosing the old (and somehow reliable) tall ships tracks is´nt possible in todays markets. Even the coal is in a hurry, it is a dead value (bound capital) while underway.

    The rig could be far below the cost of Maltese Falcon, but you asked for that.

    And as Gonzo said, the engine would be at least of similar size and of course running quite often.

    There HAS to be extra crew when there is extra equipment, so easy is that.

    And be sure, if nobody else would, Peter Döhle, HAPAG, Rickmers and the rest of the shipping gang in Hamburg would sail, when it was feasible.

    Regards
    Richard
     
  10. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Apex1 makes a good point. The old sailing routes followed the favorable winds. With engine power, the shortes route is often possible.
     
  11. wardd
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    wardd Senior Member

    whats the fuel cost per ton of cargo on a big carrier?
     
  12. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    Of course that depends. But to give you a clue: last year when the fuel was twice the price, we had to pay a additional fee for a 40´container between Asia and W Europe of 275 US$. That will be about the amount it costs today, on a generation 10 ship or larger of course.

    Another point:
    we have been talking about bulk (coal was the example). There are not many "buk carriers" in the range one could build a sailing ship. Almost all of them are "general cargo" today. That means you could possibly optimize the ship / freight / route relations, but could´nt transport other cargo. And you could not have the deck cranes you need. But that is what makes these general cargo ships profitable. They are flexible to some extend in cargo.

    Regards
    Richard
     
  13. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    I think the cost should be on fuel per ton per distance per speed.
     
  14. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    Right, I thought just giving a rough idea what it may be about, was what wardd asked for.
     

  15. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Sure, but he has to take into consideration the penalties for delivering cargo late.
     
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