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What happened to the Solly Merchant fleets?

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Re: What happened to the Solly Merchant fleets?
Post by Brigade XO   » Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:39 am

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I would guess that the materials being used to build both warships and civilian freighters in the Hornorverse are signifcantly stronger than current shipbuilding materials. They don't have to deal with the problem of floating on salt water so that helps a bit too.

The reasons that ship designs change (or stay the same) over time is heavily dependent on the means of propelling said ship(s) and what they are designed to do. If you are moving bulk material (and that would include a lot of general cargo in containers) you don't particularly need "fast", you need efficient. Does the hull (and superstructure) configuration reduce drag and resistance? Does you propulsion system get both good fuel economy and consistant smooth performance with enough range of power (not particularly speed) to give you the extra power to meet unexpected (and short term) needs. Dam few engines are designed to run at maximum all the time. Those that are will be fairly specialized and DESIGNED to trade high performance for economy and total run time. Think high performance race cars.

Civilian cargo ships are typicaly designed to be durable, relatively easy to maintain and fix plus efficeint to operate. They are optimized to the job they are intended to do. It does not appear that the actual jobs of most freighters in the Honorverse, nor their basic equipment has changed in a couple of hundred years. Maximum size may have changed and there are going to always been needs for variations (particularly in size) and capabilities based on the anticipated customer base.
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Re: What happened to the Solly Merchant fleets?
Post by munroburton   » Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:09 pm

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Relax wrote:If the number of merchant hulls in Honorverse is around 100,000+++, then where are they all built?

According to ART they are not built in the League.

According to WoH, they aren't built in Manticore either. Little thing called a war. A few were built in Grayson space.


I vaguely recall a scene in Echoes of Honor when Hamish showed Willie and Caparelli the Blackbird yards. One of the impressions I took from that scene was that Manticore's shipyards were at maximum capacity building both warships and freighters, with Grayson taking the opportunity to supply a growing demand for freighters.

In other words, Manticore was building as many freighters as they could. And still didn't meet demands.
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Re: What happened to the Solly Merchant fleets?
Post by SYED   » Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:26 am

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Due to the increased jobs, and increased travel times, I am thinking that the transtellars are going to suffer, if their verge deals collapse.
Also, since the league are as good as at war, their shipping are possible targets, so many will choose non league shippers.
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Re: What happened to the Solly Merchant fleets?
Post by kzt   » Fri Apr 04, 2014 1:17 am

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SYED wrote:Due to the increased jobs, and increased travel times, I am thinking that the transtellars are going to suffer, if their verge deals collapse.

That might be what the plot shows, but it would make no sense.

The verge has both limited populations and pretty much no money. The several thousand actual SL members have both serious money and populations averaging several billion people. Losing tens of billions of poor people as customers while still having few trillion rich people as customers means the effect is pretty negligible. It's like Walmart and Target losing access to Zimbabwe. Boy, that will send shockwaves across Wall Street.
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Re: What happened to the Solly Merchant fleets?
Post by Dafmeister   » Fri Apr 04, 2014 5:39 am

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kzt wrote:
SYED wrote:Due to the increased jobs, and increased travel times, I am thinking that the transtellars are going to suffer, if their verge deals collapse.

That might be what the plot shows, but it would make no sense.

The verge has both limited populations and pretty much no money. The several thousand actual SL members have both serious money and populations averaging several billion people. Losing tens of billions of poor people as customers while still having few trillion rich people as customers means the effect is pretty negligible. It's like Walmart and Target losing access to Zimbabwe. Boy, that will send shockwaves across Wall Street.


It's not just a matter of customers, the 'company shop' aspect of the transtellars' deals with OFS are only a small part of the revenue flow. Most of it comes from extracting resources from Shell and Verge systems, a lot of which (specialist timber is one example) simply isn't available in the Core. Moreover, the lost of wormholes and the withdrawal of Manticoran hulls is going to drive up transit times and costs, not to mention that a lot of cargoes won't be moved at all for lack of shipping. The League's economic structure is based on the assumption that trade will flow uninterrupted; that's the kind of mindset that breeds overspecialisation in specific star systems.

Yes, they can work through it, but it's going to take time, it's going to take a lot of money as they build new infrastructure and it's going to cause a lot of pain to people who don't see the Manticore issue as anything to do with them. It's also going to hurt the federal government far more than the individual systems; the systems have an internal tax base that isn't being directly attacked, whereas the federal revenue stream is dependent on trade tariffs and protectorate fees.
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Re: What happened to the Solly Merchant fleets?
Post by Brigade XO   » Fri Apr 04, 2014 1:24 pm

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I will stick my neck out here and suggest that the civilian merchant shipping and naval ships are usually being built in different yards in the Honorverse. Where those are located in relation to the naval yards is another question. It would seem that when Manticore lost the three major space stations, two of them also had a lot of civilian slips as well as military ones. It was just that the civilian ones were not as restricted as the military areas.

Once Manticore went to using the Grayson style dispersed yard, they were building ships at all sorts of locations relative to the sources of material and parts but still clustered to simplify materials handling.

Most Systems are not going to be setting up to build military ships. To do that they are going to have to anticipate both using the ships themselves or have markets for export of the ships. With civilian ships, almost everything built would be done by contract order and not for ultimate use by the company that is building them. Obviously the Housman Cartel has an interest in producing freighters, passenger ships and other private ships in addition to whatever it is building for RMN (and others) but they are going to want to segregate the civilian shipping if for nothing else than maintain the level of security required on the military ships. That extends to the logistics chain. All the military components go to the naval locations and IF they need something that is also used in civilian ship construction they just have it sent over from the civilian logistics side or have it sent direct from the manufacture to the navy side.

Civilian ships are more of a commodity. They tend to be built to more standard or stock designs and with commercially available parts. They also tend to be designed to transport things or people or specific tasks.

A lot of shipbuilders probably (as they have in the current era) started out small and were producing workboats or ships. For the Honorverse this would be all sorts of in-system stuff such as types for asteroid miners (prospecting ships, ore transports, supply ships) and service ships (lighters, fuel transport, ground to space and orbital to orbital shuttles) and grow over time to the point where they expand to building some size of hyper-capable ships. That would also allow from someone who got into the business of repairing either (or both) in-system and hyper-capable ships to expand into the market of producing them from the keel out.

That kind of development is likely to happen anywhere there is a need for it. It can be found at any major shipping hub and where local/regional work craft are built. This would drive development of minor shipbuilding companies and yards or subsidary yards for larger builders at places where the market would sustain such development.
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