Economics and Regulations

   Key factors in the evolution of freight transport


Historic evolution of freight transport


Daire Brunicardi, Gerry Trant, Nautical Enterprise Centre Ltd.

This report examines three pivotal factors that facilitated the exponential increase in volumes of commodities transported by sea in the last century. Firstly, the advent of fast, specialised cargo vessels, the infamous tea clippers, of the 19th century is examined. Secondly the domination of the maritime trade routes by the British steam ships in the late 19th and early 20th century is examined. This was equivalent to the industrial revolution for maritime transport services, on a global scale. Lastly the adoption of containerisation is examined in terms of its origins and its impact on freight transport.

These three paradigm shifts were not the only crucial changes that occurred in maritime transport in the last two centuries, however, they are specific to freight transport. Great effort has being taken to present the changes in the context of their time. Many of these changes were slow moving and often took two or three decades to become widely accepted standard practices.

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