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Re: ?
Post by cthia   » Wed Mar 31, 2021 8:20 pm

cthia
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Brigade XO wrote:Loading, packing and organizing
I have a fair amount of experience in packing things into storage containers (not so much shipping containers) and you have to think in terms of what will fit where/ how it will be stacked (that egg & bread comment) and when it can anticipate it being needed and so where it needs to be for availability.
Two summers working at a large waterpark with restaurant. They had a walk-in cooler (larger than most big living rooms with a walk-in freezer behind that. Planning, use-by dates, first in first out (literally, even frozen there are perishable points in time) and access. Deliveries twice a week on some items, every other week on others and then "as needed" stuff.
Organize incoming to be near existing stock of same kind and shift for eldest closest to front. Move (daily as needed from freezer to cooler to buffer thawing (and effect the temp in the cooler to use less power instead of on a counter in the prep location.

In a differnt connection you should see what has to get done for a package & delivery service like FedEx or UPS. The long hall transport (in trucking) is going to take load between cities but one of the reasons fo those twin 28' trailers is forwarding stuff to a location beyond where the other one is going. In the local delivery routes it more simplified than for some shipping loop for a wet traffic coastal freighter or multistep interstellar route but the truck has to drop off in a lot of places and there will be pickups- and at least the to-be-delivered stuff had best be organized for efficiency in finding and dropping at the intended destination.
Since the more you handle stuff, the more time it takes and it costs, you want to load ships- hopefully with a bunch of the different deliveries sequentially but still accessible-and since you are going to be putting any incoming goods in the holds you might want to sort them to near things going to a system already on your route or create a new holding area for a "new" stop. And, if your heading to a place where you are making deliveries and transshipment drop, you would want the items close together but clearly separated.
Experience helps along with an appreciation of the logistics for the parts of the job.
And don't forget the weights involved (and, of course mass). There is a reason they stencil the WEIGHTS on shipping containers and weigh the things being checked into the "yard" facilities.
That gets noted /confirmed on the manifests and the purser/cargo master has to figure out where to put what. Because you really really really want to balance your load in three dimensions relative to the dimensions and capability of the vessel.
So, yes, it does involve rocket science :)

Rocket science and a whole lot of muscle in some systems.

Anyway, you have reminded me of things I had forgotten. The LIFO (last in first out) credo, and FiLO (first in last out) and packing according to unloading schedules. Good reminder. It is also a reminder of how big rigs hate for anyone to touch their packing. You could almost use as much time, and effort, looking for something mis-packed as the entire effort packing.

Taking on other deliveries during the route is interesting.

.
Last edited by cthia on Thu Apr 01, 2021 6:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: ?
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Wed Mar 31, 2021 9:06 pm

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cthia wrote:I'm also unsure about passing on damages to the insurance companies. I'd bet that is a "negative, good buddy." (CB speak).


Fair enough, the insurance may refuse to pay for delays caused by legitimate custom inspections. Then the shipper or the shipment company needs to eat the loss.

The point is that legitimate searches are the law and freight companies need to know this.

Insurance costs are probably massively high already. You can't force insurers to pay for someone else's mistakes. If so, uncouth governments and outfits could kill any shipping company it targets. And if any system has a policy of making the shipper (or his insurance) eat the costs of their mistakes, surely their ports will soon become "ghost towns." I will wager that the Manticoran government would have eaten the costs for Honor's mistakes.


I rightfully agree that if Honor had made a mistake, the Crown would have come into a deal with Hauptman. The same applies to other polities and other places. I also agree that any polity that harasses shipping companies will see them dry up. That will drive up the cost to ship there, maybe to a point where shipping becomes uneconomical.

But that is not what I was saying. Honor didn't make a mistake, even if she hadn't found contraband (though proving so is another matter). Hauptman would have no legal standing to demand compensation.

And again, these costs could become catastrophic and stratospheric. Valuable medicines could be destroyed. Costly materials and time sensitive deliveries would instantly be made a bust, which no one will want (which will have to be returned then destroyed) which itself is a bag of mixed nuts and lots of red tape. Nobody is going to want to deliver to a system who forces a shipper to eat the costs of their mistakes. In Manticore's case, they would be shooting their own revenue stream in the foot.


Side note: perishable and time-sensitive in a high-tech world with access to the vacuum of space for heat exchange is quite different from our world of today. That leaves only live cargo (assuming stasis isn't possible and we know the technology exists in the HV) and assets whose value is time, though I can't think of something that would qualify and wouldn't be transported by dispatch boat in digital form in the first place. It can't be money and it can't be information.

cthia wrote:If the MA uses these things, they would certainly have them operating long enough for the galaxy to become accustomed to seeing them, before turning them into Trojan Horses.
ThinksMarkedly wrote:Technically this is true, but impractically improbable. You're saying that the MAlign needs to be operating a fleet of 100 supermassive freighters for 50 T-years (at least) without much incident.
cthia wrote:Why 50 years? One arrival and news of these freighters will spread like wildfire. And they will only be used on certain routes anyway, where supply and demand justify it. Six months to a year or even less should be fine. A steady stream of rigs are arriving all the time. A shipper could cut their shipping costs drastically because one freighter can now carry the goods of two. In fact, on certain routes, these things could put smaller companies out of business by offering lower shipping costs because of volume. Enough to piss the hell out of Hauptman.


Because you said "they would certainly have them operating long enough for the galaxy to become accustomed to seeing them." I agree the news of a new supermassive freighter will spread like a wildfire in six months. But it'll be well-known everywhere and hardly inconspicuous. Two of them would shake the foundations of shipping. Three would raise the eyebrows of the intelligence services, not to mention the shipping cartels' own competition and market analysis teams.

I also don't think the economics work like you're anticipating. Volume does not always allow for lower shipping cost, unless they're doing market dumping and selling below cost (which again triggers unwanted investigation). Especially not if for a modest price increase you can have your cargo arriving much more quickly, using grav waves and Junctions to make a better routing. In fact, smaller ships can get there more quickly.

Time here is not in the sense of perishable goods as above. It's about assets tied up: while the good is in transit, it's not sold, so either the seller or the buyer or both have higher capital costs. Time Is Money.

We don't know the exact components that go into the cost of shipping in the HV. For all we know, it makes no economical sense to ship anything but people and information in the first place. But we do know it happens and we do know that supermassives don't exist. Therefore, even though we don't know the reasons why, we have to operate under the assumption they exist.

The Alignment does not have to abide by the same economic limitations that the regular market participants do. But deviating from that invites investigation, such as the Torchies figuring out that Manpower was operating without a profit motive and was instead operating like a state actor.

Again, I don't see the problem. No one has said anything about flooding the market. Massive tankers are built as needed. And, I imagine the old adage would ring true... "build it and they will come."


Except it isn't true now and won't be then. As above: we know they don't exist and therefore there must be a reason for that. Just ask why Airbus isn't selling more A380s, even the cargo version of it. Why are there only 6 Belugas?

I also fail to see the same criteria carrying over in the HV as far as being economical. I can't see fuel costs being a nonstarter for wedge powered freighters. And the use of thrusters even on a superfreighter can't be that inordinately higher.


Agreed, the economics of the HV have not made much sense. David is a military historian and quite good at it. He does political intrigue like no one else. And he keeps track of minute details. But economics is not his forté.

But this is where we suspend disbelief and accept that, in order for the universe to make sense, there has to be a consistent set of rules we don't know about.
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Re: ?
Post by cthia   » Thu Apr 01, 2021 12:10 am

cthia
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I'm not referring to legitimate inspections, only illegitimate inspections. And, inspections on a freighter just because it is supermassive, after seeing them for months is not legitimate.

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: ?
Post by kzt   » Thu Apr 01, 2021 1:52 am

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Military grade hyper drives are the obvious thing for a merchant to use if they want a competitive advantage. David has at best hand-waved why they don’t.
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Re: ?
Post by cthia   » Thu Apr 01, 2021 8:06 pm

cthia
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kzt wrote:Military grade hyper drives are the obvious thing for a merchant to use if they want a competitive advantage. David has at best hand-waved why they don’t.

Can you recall any of those reasons? I got nothing, except perhaps, security? Classified tech?

I still can't figure out why larger freighters wouldn't be economical. I'm drawing a blank. Even the maintenance on the hardware shouldn't come into play until long after the supermassive has made a killing in profit.

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: ?
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Thu Apr 01, 2021 10:09 pm

ThinksMarkedly
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cthia wrote:I'm not referring to legitimate inspections, only illegitimate inspections. And, inspections on a freighter just because it is supermassive, after seeing them for months is not legitimate.


I think you're mixing "justified" with "legitimate." If it's within the letter of the law, it's legitimate, whether the customs crew had a reason to make the inspection or not. They may get in trouble with their superiors for political reasons, but that's a different story.

And exactly because this tactic could be used is reason enough to do random searches on any ship, regardless of her bona fides. I'm not even talking about using a ship as a trojan horse for an attack, but simple smuggling.

And if the probability of being randomly searched is, indeed, random, then if you carry 5x more cargo than other ships, you're 5x more likely to be searched.
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Re: ?
Post by ZVar   » Thu Apr 01, 2021 11:36 pm

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kzt wrote:Military grade hyper drives are the obvious thing for a merchant to use if they want a competitive advantage. David has at best hand-waved why they don’t.


He has mentioned a few times of stuff like fast passanger liners and fast transport tramps.
Although I thought the limiting factor in merchant ship speeds was sensor reach. I.E. they can't see far enough ahead to avoid unknown grav waves.
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Re: ?
Post by kzt   » Fri Apr 02, 2021 12:08 am

kzt
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ZVar wrote:
kzt wrote:Military grade hyper drives are the obvious thing for a merchant to use if they want a competitive advantage. David has at best hand-waved why they don’t.


He has mentioned a few times of stuff like fast passanger liners and fast transport tramps.
Although I thought the limiting factor in merchant ship speeds was sensor reach. I.E. they can't see far enough ahead to avoid unknown grav waves.

They just keep the same relative velocity but 2-3 hyper bands higher.
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Re: ?
Post by Jonathan_S   » Fri Apr 02, 2021 8:43 am

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cthia wrote:
kzt wrote:Military grade hyper drives are the obvious thing for a merchant to use if they want a competitive advantage. David has at best hand-waved why they don’t.

Can you recall any of those reasons? I got nothing, except perhaps, security? Classified tech?

I still can't figure out why larger freighters wouldn't be economical. I'm drawing a blank. Even the maintenance on the hardware shouldn't come into play until long after the supermassive has made a killing in profit.

IIRC he's claimed that military hyper generators aren't affordable for most merchants because of:
* The far higher initial cost of the more capable hyper generator
* The larger size of a military hyper-generator
* The far more frequent and expensive maintenance of a military-grade hyper generator. (Need more engineering staff, more spares, and spend more time and money keeping it tuned up and running)
Also the higher bands are marginally less safe - but by this point, as long as you aren't really pushing it in the Theta bands it doesn't seem to be a significant risk.

Basically the civilian hyper generator is one where they traded off performance for a more compact, more robust, and more reliable (lower maintenance) hyper generator.


Though it does seem likely that there was a time after each new hyper band was cracked when the latest hyper generators were restricted military secrets for their countries. But by the time the main series starts the Theta bands have been unlocked for so long that it seems the only reason first-world freighters don't have them is economic. (As civilian ships that more reason for shorter transit times do seem to have them)


But if we look back at the era of the Manticore Ascendant series the maximum hyper bands reachable by military and civilian hyper generators were both lower than their 20th century PD counterparts.

And, eventually, the streak drive will likely leak out or be independently reinvented and that ability to reach the Kappa bands will become the new normal for military hyper generators. Then it seems likely that eventually some of the tech from that will trickle down into making civilian hyper drives better -- so that for basically the same lifetime cost, safety, and maintenance requirements as the current Delta-band capable units you'd now be able to reach into the Epsilon or Zeta bands (giving freighters a 32% or 64% boost to effective transit speed)
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Re: ?
Post by Jonathan_S   » Fri Apr 02, 2021 8:54 am

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But I suspect RFC simply wanted slower merchant ships as that's been the historical norm - with the exact mechanics being secondary.

In the age of sail they were usually slower (special cases like the China clippers being exceptions) because they'd tend to have a fuller, fatter, hull form than warships. But also because in most conditions ringing the best speed out of a given sailing ship required lots of extra sail handlers, and military ships could justify carrying (and paying, and feeding) far larger crews than merchant ships. So even if the hull form and sail plan was identical a sailing ship with a military crew tended to be faster than one with a (smaller) merchant crew.

Then in the age of steam the engine costs (and definitely the size), and far more so the extra fuel required for high speed steaming tended to restrict them to military hulls. Only special cases like ocean liners could justify giving up so much interior volume to engines and fuel storage; and in the coal powered age all the extra stokers needed to keep the boiler fires fed and maintained. Most freighters preferred the economics of carrying more cargo (for a given size hull) at a slower pace, using far, far, less fuel and far, far, smaller engines. (Which, being less stressed also lasted longer and required less maintenance).


So to keep that same dynamic freighters needed to be slower. But because the trade-offs for better hyper generators appear to be far less significant than they are for ocean going speed it seems to make less sense for Honorverse freighters to choose longer, slower, transits.
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