Original: a green wood source official account: distant green wood has been authorized to reprint
As we all know, this is the era of sea power. The cost of shipping is far lower than that of other modes of transportation, leading human countries to enter the mode of globalization and cooperation. Port cities are far richer than inland cities.
Depend on the sea and eat the sea. Whoever is close to the sea will naturally be a cow.
However, the sea power era that has lasted for nearly 70 years has reached its peak, and the shipping cost can no longer continue to decline. The shipping technology revolution that has lasted so far has reached the limit of the natural law and entered a stagnant period.
First, explain the 70 year sea power era, and then explain why the marine technology revolution has stopped.
It has been more than 500 years since the era of great navigation began. Britain and the Netherlands have been fighting for maritime hegemony for hundreds of years. How can it become a 70 year era of sea power?
Because in 1814, man invented the train and built the world’s first railway in 1825.
Railway shocked the world as soon as it appeared. It was the lowest way for all mankind to transport goods at that time, far lower than sea transportation.
At that time, all the capitalists in Europe and the United States were frantically building railways everywhere. They regarded railways as the hope of the future of mankind, and even came to the Great Qing Dynasty to build railways.
The low freight cost of railway made human beings enter the land right era from 1825.
However, all European countries are small countries with small land area, and the area that can be linked by railway is far inferior to the sea, so the railway has not been able to exert its power against the sky in Europe.
But in the United States, a country with a vast continent, the railway has become a new generation of God.
In the 60 years from 1850 to 1910, the United States built more than 370000 kilometers of railways, with an average annual road construction of more than 6000 kilometers. It is equivalent to building three Beijing Guangzhou railways every year.
In 1916, the total investment in the American railway industry reached US $21billion, almost twice the annual GDP of Britain before the first World War.
In 1916, the US railway operation revenue reached US $3.35 billion, and the number of employees of the railway company totaled 1.7 million, which was equivalent to the total number of land and naval personnel of France and Germany before the first World War.
At that time, the United States had nearly 600000 kilometers of railway lines, accounting for about half of the total railway mileage in the world.
The existence of Railways has given the United States an internal circulation of capital.
Since railways can carry out low-cost transportation, and shipping has no advantage over railways, foreign trade is only a supplement to the United States, not a lifeblood.
The United States can play its own game and trade with itself. The port city can only be said to be a transportation hub, but it is not the only one.
The United States ate all the dividends of the land power era and finally quietly developed to the first place in the world.
However, after World War II, an American invented the container, which reduced the cost of shipping to an unimaginable level, and brought mankind into the era of sea power again.
Just now I said that in the 19th century, the cost of sea transportation was higher than that of railways. This means not only the transportation cost, but also a series of comprehensive risks such as loading and unloading and cargo sinking.
In terms of transportation cost, sea transportation is still lower than railway, but with a series of other additional costs, it is far inferior to railway.
One of the most expensive is the cost of loading and unloading.
If you have ever been on a large ship, you will know that it is very difficult to get on the ship. It is even more difficult to transport tens of thousands of tons of goods to the ship.
It is more difficult to load these goods neatly in the ship, transport them to the destination, and then unload them.
It took you half a month to load and unload cargo on the wharf. Do you think you don’t have to pay for this?
But the railway is different. Hundreds of railway tracks can be loaded and unloaded separately, and they can be operated manually on land. The loading and unloading cost is much lower than that of sea ships, and the loading and unloading speed is much higher than that of sea ships, which creates a huge cost advantage.
Then there is the cost of goods lost.
On land, even if the train overturns and your goods are still there, they can be transported again.
But at sea, if the boat capsizes, there is nothing left.
In the so-called age of great sailing in ancient times, the reason why those sailboats could become the strongest means of transportation for mankind was entirely because at that time, mankind did not have railways. No matter how bad this kind of sailboat was, it was faster than carriage.
But after the railway was born in 1814, all this was overthrown.
However, in 1946, American McClain invented the container with reference to the railway train skin, thus overthrowing the railway hegemony.
Containers are extremely outrageous, which greatly improves the handling efficiency of ocean freight ships, resulting in a sharp drop in handling costs.
With containers, how to transport 10000 tons of goods to the ship is no longer a headache. Even 100000 tons can be easily loaded.
The once expensive loading and unloading cost was weakened to a fraction by the container.
Since the invention of containers led to the design of seagoing ships without considering the handling cost, a technological revolution broke out in the field of maritime transportation.
Since the proportion of loading and unloading of trains and seagoing ships in the total cost is not high, the rest is to compete for fuel costs.
In land railway transportation, the fuel consumed is proportional to the weight, and the coefficient is the rolling friction coefficient.
If the loading weight is 100 times, the resistance will be 100 times greater and the fuel cost will be 100 times higher. Is this a common sense.
At the same time, train resistance has nothing to do with speed, and speed will only increase air resistance, which is also a common sense, right.
But shipping does not conform to this common sense.
The resistance of a marine vessel is directly proportional to the 2/3 power of its weight and the square of its speed.
What do you mean?
The resistance of a sea going ship is proportional to the square of its speed, which means that the faster the ship is, the greater the resistance is. Therefore, the speed of a sea going ship is bound to have an upper limit, and the shipping cost will increase sharply with the increase of speed. Therefore, the shipping speed is finally determined by taking into account the timeliness and cost, and the speed should not be too fast or too slow.
There is no upper limit to the speed of the train. The growth rate will only increase the air resistance. The natural laws of the two are different.
Another natural law is the most interesting. The resistance of a sea going ship is directly proportional to its own weight to the power of 2/3.
This means that at a fixed speed, if the weight of the ship is increased by 1000 times, the resistance will only increase by 100 times.
If the weight of a train is increased by 1000 times, the resistance will increase by 1000 times, but the resistance of a seagoing ship will only increase by 100 times.
This represents a cost gap of 10 times. It is this natural law that enables seagoing ships to completely defeat trains and open a 70 year era of sea power.
After the invention of container in 1946, the handling cost no longer bothered the shipping industry. In order to pursue the ultimate cost reduction, the carrying capacity of seagoing ships began to expand endlessly.
Big is the truth. Whoever has a big boat has a reason.
The larger the boat, the lower the cost, the higher the market share. The big boat can certainly eat the small boat. It is very aggressive and ruthless.
During World War I and World War II, ships with tens of thousands of tons could be called giant ships. Aircraft carriers with a displacement of 100000 tons were called super giants.
But after 1946, human ships became larger and larger, creating hundreds of thousands of tons or even millions of tons of super ships.
The larger the ship, the lower the cost, the more obvious the disadvantage of the railway.
In 1970, the largest American Railway Company declared bankruptcy, and the entire American railway industry never recovered.
Since then, the whole mankind has entered the era of globalization. All economic and trade exchanges depend on shipping. The human economy has become the economy of coastal areas and coastal areas. If the coastal areas of our country are not large enough, we will use the coastal areas of foreign countries.
Even the U.S. economy cannot rely on the internal circulation of railways, and the economic focus has been forced to shift to sea transportation. If all countries in the world want to be rich, they must rely on sea transportation.
No matter how powerful you are, you can’t resist the laws of nature.
But with the increasing size of seagoing ships, another natural law has emerged.
The heavier the ship, the deeper the draft, which is the inevitable result.
The NOK Nevis, currently the longest ship in the Guinness Book of records, has a length of more than 1/4 mile, a displacement of 820000 tons and a draft of 24 meters.
This draft has become a fatal defect of Nevis. Because there are few deep-water ports more than 20 meters in the world, Nevis cannot stop at most ports and can only transport back and forth between fixed ports.
As a deep-water harbor, there can’t be a cliff trench directly below the water edge. There must be a slope between the ground and the seabed.
However, the ship has to dock to unload.
A port with a draft of 20 meters is already a good port. Even in China, there are few such ports. It is absolutely not to say that large ships can be docked at any coastline.
Because the number of deep-water ports is limited and the draft is limited, the draft of seagoing ships is limited. After more than 20 meters, the gain is not worth the loss.
If the draft is limited, can we increase the length and width of the ship? This can also increase the total cargo capacity.
First of all, the length of a ship cannot be unlimited. At present, the length of a human ship has reached the performance limit of steel. If we continue to increase the length, the wind and wave resistance of a sea going ship will be seriously insufficient. A storm may tear the sea going ship in half.
1/4 mile is the upper limit of the ship length currently limited by human materials. Further increase will lead to a sharp increase in steel consumption, resulting in a sharp increase in construction costs and fuel costs. Ultimately, the gains outweigh the losses.
Moreover, it is a big trouble for a long sea going ship to call at the port, so there is no way to extend it.
Widening is not enough.
The geographical environment of the human earth determines that the Panama Canal and Suez canal are the only routes for seagoing ships. If the route needs to bypass one more continent, the fuel cost will increase sharply, and then the cost advantage will be lost.
When a ship is wide enough, it cannot pass through the two canals, so it cannot be infinitely wide.
The length is limited, the width is limited, and the draft is limited, so the cargo capacity of the sea going ship is limited to a ceiling and cannot be infinite.
In 1981, the Nevis was launched and became the largest seagoing ship in human history. The defects of the ship made later investors no longer superstitious. The bigger the ship is, the more reasonable it is.
At present, after careful weighing, most of the seagoing ships used by humans for transportation have a displacement of between 100000 and 500000 tons, and 300000 tons are considered as large ships to adapt to the depth of the two throat canals and ports.
These ships, loaded with dense containers, have also tapped their carrying capacity to the extreme.
At a glance, you can see that the carrying potential has been fully realized, and you can’t fit any more boxes.
Therefore, the sea transportation technology revolution after World War II has come to an end, and the sea transportation cost has been reduced to the limit by mankind.
Today, the comprehensive shipping cost of a ton of goods is only 5% of that in 1946. The data is very outrageous. Many economically uneconomical transactions have become cost-effective because of the reduction of shipping costs, and the world division of labor has become possible.
This wave of maritime dividends has enriched all the port cities in the world and directly changed the world economic pattern.
However, even so, the energy consumption ratio of sea transportation and railway transportation is only 1:1.8, and the railway is inferior, but it is not abandoned.
However, the infrastructure investment of the railway is very large, much larger than that of the port. The proportion of infrastructure investment is about 1:3, which leads to the fact that the freight rate of the railway is 2~3 times higher than that of the sea transportation.
This advantage is extremely huge, so although the era of sea power has reached its peak, it is still impossible to shake its hegemony.
But transportation needs to consider many things, not just the cost.
Although sea transportation is cheap, it can only be transported point-to-point between ports. It is far less convenient than the railway, and the railway is not as convenient as the highway.
The transportation cost of highway is 2~3 times that of railway. However, when the transportation distance is less than 900km, the railway has no competitive advantage against the highway. Only in the transportation of more than 1200km, the railway becomes the first choice.
This is the door-to-door advantage. In terms of convenience, roads are greater than railways, and railways are greater than shipping.
However, road transportation has no technical content. Anyone can do it.
At the same time, the technological revolution in maritime transport has reached its peak, and the natural law has limited the potential limit of maritime transport.
Step by step, it takes too long for China to surpass the United States, and the U.S. Navy holds most of the world’s shipping arteries.
If you were a Chinese leader, what path would you choose to make a breakthrough to lead China to overtake on the curve?
One of the two natural laws of resistance is that no matter how fast the railway transportation is, the resistance per kilometer under the same weight is the same, only affecting the air resistance.
As for the locomotive which is prone to transport tens of thousands of tons of goods, the resistance surface is only a little bit at the head, so the air resistance can be ignored.
Increasing the speed of seagoing ships will lead to a sharp increase in fuel costs, but trains will not.
Did you think of anything?
Yes, China is desperately developing high-speed railway technology, first engaging in passenger transport, and then breaking through freight transport.
Fast speed will not reduce costs, but timeliness itself is a part of value, and consumers are willing to pay the price for timeliness.
If the speed reaches a certain level, the railway may defeat the sea going ships.
At the same time, the longer the transportation distance, the lower the unit price, and the more obvious the advantages of high-speed trucks, which is also a natural law.
Did you think of anything?
Yes, China is engaged in the the Belt and Road and the China Europe train. It is trying to build the longest railway line for mankind with Eurasia, the longest continent of mankind, so as to give full play to the power of the railway.
The United States was once the largest land power country, but the maritime revolution was initiated by the United States. Therefore, the reshuffled international division of labor order was also established by the United States, and the United States is the biggest beneficiary.
However, the marine technology revolution has already reached its peak, and it is the limit limited by the natural law, so it is impossible to make a breakthrough.
The railway technology has made a breakthrough, and the high-speed railway is a new generation of technological revolution.
The railway speed has reached 350 kilometers per hour. Can it be faster?
The scientist’s answer is possible.
The routine of reducing costs by expanding the displacement of seagoing ships has come to an end. Can we build larger seagoing ships?
The scientist’s answer is impossible.
Sea power has great advantages. At present, land power is still impossible to compare with sea power.
However, sea power can only stand still, and every technological breakthrough we have made in the railway can pull the gap between land power and sea power, and the distance between the two will continue to narrow.
No one knows what technology will develop into in the future, but we have chosen the right direction for technological breakthrough.
Because of the limitations of natural laws.