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The Fleet Ship designs, strategies, and tactics.

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Old January 25th, 2013, 01:56 PM
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Default Trader sizes

Stolen from the Shipyards thead.

In discussing trade volumes and ships sizes.

Originally Posted by rancke View Post
Incidentally, there can't be all THAT many small ships, because bigger ships are more economical, and if you have enough freight or passengers to keep two ships in business, you could do it cheaper with one twice the size. There are countervailing considerations, not the least that the traffic probably will be split between several competing companies, but you won't see many companies running scores of ships on a single link in a route. And passenger traffic is more likely to be split among several ships in order to provide more frequent connections.
The Free Trader is ubiquitous in Traveller as effectively the mini-van of the galaxy. It's as small as it is because it's balanced between affordability and capability as owned and managed by sole proprietor. The independent captain.

That said, the FT is not necessarily the most efficient cargo ship available. The larger ships give more bang/buck, but take lots of bucks to even start with. The large corporations, on the other hand, can choose the most efficient hulls possible.

But there may be other constraints on size that go unsaid.

Here on Sol III, the ports have limitations as to how big of a ship they can handle. The size of the dock, the capabilities of the cranes. The Panama Canal still has some impact on ship design. The large bulk oil carriers show us more the practical limits of commercial ship building, but the container ships don't seem to approach those sizes.

Now, in orbit, it may simply not matter how big the ship is. As long as it has a big enough door to shuttle the cargo tugs through efficiently, maybe anything goes. On the ground, for a sea going ship, the dock and crane is far more efficient that using ferry boats to move cargo back and forth. Heck, I think during WWII, they just beached ships for expediency of unloading then pulled them off (that's a guess, I don't know, but I think we had some specialized landing ships that could do that).

In orbit that whole hard dock may have simply been hand waved away. That's just never done, and it's all shuttles and tugs. 1000dT streamlined landing ferry to move orbital supplies dirt side. Hard to say.

So, maybe there is no external consideration for ship size beyond simply traffic loads (no reason to jump with empty bays) and/or tech level.

But I can see that over time, the gap between the size of a Free Trader and a corporate cargo vessel would just get larger and larger, with the mid range ships being scrapped or reduced to specialty runs.
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