Shameless Bank Line Advertising.....!

Alistair Macnab
5th September 2010, 18:45
All S.N.members and visitors are invited to look at the seven chapters of Bank Line in the SN Directory. As the author, ably and sternly assisted by my editor, Fred Henderson who also accessed the photographs and included them with the narrative, the 20th. Century Bank Line story perhaps represents a true recording of the end of multipurpose tween deck cargo ships , both liner and tramp operated, and the beginning and empowerment of the container concept. It was nothing short of a revolution but now that containerization has plateaued, what happens next?
The upheaval may at the time have made complete sense but the main problem of 'traditional' shipping was on shore where the longshoremen had the shipowners by the short and curlies and had to be put down.
Instead it was the seafarers that were put down.
Perhaps the final chapter has yet to be written!
Meantime, enjoy the Bank Line Story!

Alan Rawlinson
7th September 2010, 19:25
Alistair,

Your thread was looking a bit lonely, so thought I would chip in with my tuppenceworth.. I think you know my views, but here goes!

On the fascinating subject of the advent of containerisation, with all respect, I really believe you have a sort of Canute mentality. Yup, you are right about the surge which went somewhat over the top, and has now plateaued but the economics are indisputable, and containers re-invigourated the Liner trades with rapid turn rounds, extra voyages per annum, and reduced pilfering and cargo damage. The outstanding change above all was the release from the paralysing grip of the longshoremen, stevedores, and wharfies in Australia. They were calling all the shots, and something had to be done, leading to the seismic revolution ( no less) and vast investment in boxes and facilities, but the rewards were bountiful. No longer were the Liner companies living in dread of the whim of a bunch of unreliable and volatile dockers. On a personable note, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the power of the bolshie dockers in London ebb away. They had given me a hard time, and some physical palpitations, and I can recall addressing a few hundred of them, shop stewards in the front at their surly best, and correctly forecasting ( as it turns out) that their days were numbered. Oh, joy!

I think you are also right to point to the niche or niches that remain for breakbulk and specialised cargo. It will never be like it was in our day - things have moved on, and so they should. I believe the next 20/30 years will see a consolidation of the existing set up. Possibly the hub port concept will gain ground with still bigger and better facilities, fewer ports, and they will spawn further growth of feeder services as the main routes shrink down to a handful. The mainhaul ships to feed these hubs will continue growing, with all the disadvantages attached to oversized ships. Huge risks to be covered, deeper water still in the approaches, and headaches for the terminals in cranage and handling, all in the name of lower unit costs per ton moved, and shorter transit time.

I also think the rolling cargo will continue to be attracted to efficient specialised carriers, who will make a nice living, thank you very much.

I know you have been busy with the breakbulk book - hope it goes well and becomes a standard textbook perhaps?

Have you decided re publication in one of the shipping mags, perhaps, for the Bankline piece?

All Best Wishes
AL ( another dinosaur)

Bob Murdoch
7th September 2010, 19:48
Thank you for the shameless advertising. I have just read it. Excellent.
Thanks Bob

Alistair Macnab
7th September 2010, 20:58
Thank you Bob and Alan!
King Canute here, and overjoyed to see the big container carriers back to sweating again as they mistook the Spring restocking for a long-term trend. Only the most efficient and customer-oriented will survive but even the 'new' container lines (as opposed to the 'old' traditional lines that set up containerization in the first place) are becoming dinosaurs as they assume that the world owes them a living and anyway, there's always public money to leach from in the form of container terminals and highways and the odd ship building and ship operating subsidy.
If I have started (or resumed, as Alan rightly points out) a discussion, so much the better! Where do we go from here? Main Line containers connecting key ports plus feeders? What about ro-ro, projects, heavy lifts, bulk parcels of less than 5000 tonnes? They don't lend themselves to geared or ungeared bulkers, container ships nor even to container terminals.
Looks like we will have to have multipurpose ships and multipurpose terminals for a while. And how long before the operators of these ships bemoan the absence of a return cargo and build up a string of one-way trades that brings their ships back to the starting point once again? Its been done before!
As before, King Canute continues to flog his dead horse and writes all about it in his new book, "The Fundamentals of Breakbulk Shipping" published by Pearsons in October destined to be the last book on the subject but should hang around Universities for many years as the definitive text on long-lost skills and we ignore developing nations and their infrastructure and industrial development plans at our peril! How many LDC countries are there?
Salaams!

Charlie Stitt
7th September 2010, 21:33
Alistair, I very much enjoyed reading your Seven Chapters Of Bank Line in the SN Directory. An excellent piece of work. I thought I knew all about the Bank Line, but thanks to you, I now realise I really knew very little. I will, no doubt, read it through many more times and if you decide to publish, I will most certainly want a copy. Thank You.(Thumb)

Alan Rawlinson
8th September 2010, 08:12
I agree with Charlie that only when you read an account of the whole thing, do you realise how little we all knew individually.... The ' big picture ' is an essential part of understanding.

Have been mulling over the likely path of container shipping after our exchanges, and it is going to be yet more investment and some innovative thinking that will allow the next leap forward. Using the Cape route ( as more large ships do these days) will allow ship sizes to rapidly increase, so the bottleneck will continue to be the terminals at either end. I can imagine (expensive) solutions involving finger piers (again) where the stack will be worked from both sides, already a reality, or perhaps a lock type berth ( Panama style) where the vessel lowers into a specially designed lock, to enable cranes to reach over the stacked boxes without the need for skyscraper gantries.

Anybody else have a vivid imagination, or a vision of the future?

Charlie Stitt
8th September 2010, 09:13
Alan, my eleven year old Grandson reckons, when the oil ''runs out'', we will be back to sailing ships. Perhaps time will prove his vision is not just as daft as it sounds now.:confused:

jimthehat
8th September 2010, 10:14
Alan, my eleven year old Grandson reckons, when the oil ''runs out'', we will be back to sailing ships. Perhaps time will prove his vision is not just as daft as it sounds now.:confused:

program on local radio this am saying that due to fuel crisis public transport may revert back to trams and trolly busses,So charlie your grandson may not be far out.
Alistair,i have read all your chapters and found them a very interesting read,will look out for the book.

jim

Alan Rawlinson
8th September 2010, 15:09
Alan, my eleven year old Grandson reckons, when the oil ''runs out'', we will be back to sailing ships. Perhaps time will prove his vision is not just as daft as it sounds now.:confused:

Charlie,

Would be nice, wouldn't it !

A few years ago I was reminded how fickle the wind is, and how there is no such thing as schedules where wind is concerned. Don't think it would suit the modern generation somehow, waiting for the overdue ship to arrive - like the Olivebank.

Readers may have seen or heard of the ' Seacloud ' which is a classic 4 masted sailing ship built at Krupps in Kiel as the ' Hussar ' in 1931, and now cruising with wealthy passengers. My son was a crew member for a while, ( Captain of the mainmast!) She is a beauty, but without the auxilliary engine, she would have no chance of keeping to schedule to all those exotic ports around the Caribbean and Medi.

Reef Knot
8th September 2010, 18:42
I have a notion that there's much more to this very interesting topic that needs to be discussed. Now I'm a guy who believes very strongly that population is the root cause of practically all the problems we face in terms global warming and depletion of resources etc. The world just cannot support the numbers that we are producing. If we are wise, we will do what is necessary to reduce our numbers to proportions that will see regrowth of everything from fish stocks to rain forests etc. blah blah blah. If we are NOT wise, nature will do it for us.

All this makes me wonder how things like the shipping industry will evolve to cater for the new reality.

Ken.

Alistair Macnab
8th September 2010, 23:20
Tonnage of cargo moving on container ships has plateaued over the past few years when it has not declined. Latest news from Maersk: "Slow steaming is here to stay" so bang goes the speed factor.
Maersk renaging on some unremunerative Service Contracts. Bang goes the economic arguement. Maersk now going to run on diesel to 'reduce their carbon footprint' which probably says more about running the whacking great engines at a slower speed than their design speed despite 'slow running modifier retrofits'. Bang goes the benefit of burning heavy oil.
Hara Kiri anyone?

Duncan112
9th September 2010, 00:38
Think Maersk are getting their lines a little crossed, switching to MDO from HFO will reduce sulphur emissions but increase CO2 emissions, when you take indirect emissions (refining etc) and unburnt and NOx CO2 equivalents into account on a kWh to kWh energy comparison MDO produces 0.32331 kg CO2 per kWh burnt where HFO produces 0.31108 kg CO2 per kWh burnt.

straight energy conversions are the only true comparison, a litre for litre comparison would give different figures because of the difference in cv (not a lot actually).

Alan Rawlinson
9th September 2010, 08:11
I have a notion that there's much more to this very interesting topic that needs to be discussed. Now I'm a guy who believes very strongly that population is the root cause of practically all the problems we face in terms global warming and depletion of resources etc. The world just cannot support the numbers that we are producing. If we are wise, we will do what is necessary to reduce our numbers to proportions that will see regrowth of everything from fish stocks to rain forests etc. blah blah blah. If we are NOT wise, nature will do it for us.

All this makes me wonder how things like the shipping industry will evolve to cater for the new reality.


Ken.

The human race is driven by two fundamental things - Fear and Greed. Well known and acted upon in the financial world...

The greed part will surely take care of the transportation needs and will motivate some innovative and brave entrepreneur like Malcolm Maclean who got the credit for the leap into containerisation.

Let's face it - Andrew Weir was motivated by greed, and had a lot of fun at the same time!

McMorine
9th September 2010, 14:56
The 20th Century Bank Line Story, a great piece of work Alistair. Well worth publishing. I would certainly like a copy.
Just out of interest, the sinking of the Trentbank, the 4th Engineer lost his life. (see Ships Telegraph Article amongst my photo's.)

Alistair Macnab
9th September 2010, 16:15
McMorine.....
I had forgotten that the 4/E was lost. I'll amend the narrative. Thank you for pointing out my mistake and thanks for the kind words.
Alistair.

simomatra
10th September 2010, 00:06
Thank you Alistair,

That was brilliant definitely well worth publishing.

Lots of info in there that I was unaware of before.

John Dryden
10th September 2010, 00:33
My thanks too Alistair and Fred,great reading,photos and a true source of reference.

rabaul
10th September 2010, 19:14
Alistair many congratulations - fantastic work that will be of interest to many folk for many years.

boatlarnie
11th September 2010, 12:04
All S.N.members and visitors are invited to look at the seven chapters of Bank Line in the SN Directory. As the author, ably and sternly assisted by my editor, Fred Henderson who also accessed the photographs and included them with the narrative, the 20th. Century Bank Line story perhaps represents a true recording of the end of multipurpose tween deck cargo ships , both liner and tramp operated, and the beginning and empowerment of the container concept. It was nothing short of a revolution but now that containerization has plateaued, what happens next?
The upheaval may at the time have made complete sense but the main problem of 'traditional' shipping was on shore where the longshoremen had the shipowners by the short and curlies and had to be put down.
Instead it was the seafarers that were put down.
Perhaps the final chapter has yet to be written!
Meantime, enjoy the Bank Line Story!

Alistair,
Just been reading your 7 chapters of Bank Line history, thoroughly enjoyed them and as I read some great memories came flooding back of the ships I had sailed on, shipmates I had sailed with and escapades experienced. I am sure this is a must read for all ex-Bank Line guys.
Thankyou very much.

Boatlarnie