THE FREIGHT SERVICE 1. Ocean freight services.—Ocean carriers may be classified as liners, tramps, and private carriers. The liner makes regular voyages over definite routes, usually on schedule time. The tramp is an irregular traveller, going wherever it pays to go.
The private carrier is owned and operated by an industrial or mercantile company for its own work, for example the Standard Oil tankers.
Other useful classifications are mail and passenger steamers (express liners) ; cargo and passenger steamers (combination liners) ; fast cargo steamers (cargo liners) ; and ordinary cargo steamers (tramps) ; and private carriers.
2. The line service.—Liners were primarily mail and passenger steamers, but there is an increasing number of strictly cargo liners. They do not usually carry bulk shipments, except in the case of wheat, which is more and more becoming a line-cargo. They specialize on the carrying of manufactured pro ducts. These, being usually sold under contract guaranteeing delivery at a definite time, will be sent by preference on carriers which run on schedule. Furthermore, none but manufacturers of high-priced articles can afford to use the expensive liner service.
Virtually they have to do so. The more expensive the goods, the more important role does the element of time play. The saving on interest on goods in transit by taking the swiftest route is greater than the increased transportation charge.
3. Seasonal effects on line is expensive to operate a line service. In order to maintain a satisfactory standard thruout the year the equipment must be capable of handling the maximum business which may be demanded of it. SoMe steamship companies charter, that is, hire, extra steamers to carry them over the busy season, but this is not always possible, especially where the service is a specialized service such as the passenger service, or the refriger ated meat service.
Some steamship lines maintain an equipment capa ble of handling the maximum demand on their regular line service and then find other employment for their surplus tonnage during the slack season. In case
a passenger ship cannot be used to advantage in regular service a special excursion to North Cape, Norway, may be arranged, or a trip around the world. Surplus freight tonnage can easily be diverted to the southern hemisphere, whose busy shipping season comes when that of the northern hemisphere slack ens.
Other steamship companies maintain several lines and preferably those which run both on the northern and southern hemisphere and in this way equalize the effects of the seasons.
4. The cargo problem.—Another reason why a regular line service is sometimes expensive lies in securing line freight in both directions. The trans atlantic service suffers least from this condition, but the lines which connect England with South Africa, for example, can pick up at Cape Town only exports that, tho valuable, are of small bulk. The develop ment of agriculture and the cattle industry in the South African colonies will in time remove this diffi culty.
In order to obtain full cargo a triangular route may be laid out as from Europe to North America, from North America to South America, and from South America to Europe. An interesting example of such a triangular service is found in a quotation from a federal court decision acquitting the United States Steel Corporation in a suit brought under the Sherman Anti-Trust Law. The court said: These vessels call en route at many ports on the west coast of South America and Mexico, at some points which have no regular steamship line. In addition to carrying the prod ucts of the Steel Corporation, they have been carrying con siderable quantities of material for other manufacturers in this country who had been unable to develop a business be cause of the lack of facilities.
In order to obtain return freight for their steamers the Products Company have to load them at Vancouver with lumber or coat for the Gulf of California ; there they reload with copper for Dunkirk, France, and in France they take on chalk for New York.