On maritime transport costs, evolution, and forecast
During recent years of economic euphoria, globalization, motor of development, has been possible due to the existence of a fast, efficient, and economic maritime transport. The technological development based on scale economies, improvement of cargo-handling systems, and specialization has allowed putting on the market vessels with very competitive costs. In these years of a bright freight market, increased costs seemed not to be of much concern, so that the problem was not approached with the necessary firmness. Nowadays, things have changed: freight rates have sunk, prices of ships have fallen, and the crisis has reached ship owners. The costs, nevertheless, are still rising, with the exception of 2009 in which, for the first time in ten years, costs of operations were sensibly reduced. In the paper, the evolution of the main components of the costs of the maritime transport are analyzed, studying the current situation of such, as well as the forecasts for the near future.
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