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Table 11 Strengths and weaknesses of SSS

From: Short sea shipping: a statistical analysis of influencing factors on SSS in European countries

Strengths Weaknesses
- SSS can solve congestion problems - SSS can play a significant role in curbing transport growth, rebalancing the modal split, and bypassing land bottlenecks - SSS is more energy-efficient (than road transport) - SSS is safer (than road transport) - SSS is environmentally-friendly    SSS removes dangerous goods from the roads - SSS is green for bulk shipping (not for RO-RO). - The sea has an unlimited capacity (i.e. it does not require a huge land-take) - Port investments and port maintenance are low - SSS can offer services at lower freight rates due to inherent economies of scale and distance - It has no time restrictions, and has the ability to use the oceans 7 days per week, 52 weeks per year - Shippers perceptions of SSS are favorable (on the East coast of North America) - SSS is flexible: increase in volume does not require infrastructure improvement - Depending on load factors of the vessel and the trailers, the effective load factor may vary between 25% and 40% making RO-RO much less efficient and green than is claimed - Regulatory safety and security frameworks are required that contribute to increasing industry costs - Costs associated with improving or increasing the port infrastructure (SSS terminals) are considerable - SSS is a capital-intensive industry (both vessels and terminals) - Capacity-filling due to high fixed costs is necessary - There is a lack of port capacity - SSS can hardly offer a door-to-door transport service: part of a broken chain - SSS has old/traditional organizational cultures - SSS has low vessel speed - There is a lack of information technology/information systems compatibility - SSS port operations are at low speed - There are low levels of port reliability - SSS has a poor image - There is port congestion at the land-side of large container ports - SSS has additional handling costs - The door-to-door price by sea would have to be 35% less if door-to-door transport were to switch to SSS - Market suffers from overcapacity, and is obliged to lower rates to be competitive - There is a lack of service differentiation - There is a higher risk of damage to goods
  1. Sources: based on Perakis and Denisis 2008; Paixão-Casaca and Marlow 2005; Brooks and Trifts 2008; Medda and Trujillo 2010; Hjelle 2010; Paixão-Casaca and Marlow 2007; Paixão-Casaca and Marlow 2009; Garcia-Menendez and Feo-Valero 2009; Gouvernal et al. 2010; Bendall and Brooks 2011; Morales-Fusco et al. 2013; Baindur and Viegas 2011; Martell et al. 2013