Robert P. Thompson

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: As part of a study of Maritime Mobile Satellite Service Requirements, Frequency Planing, Modulation and Interference Analysis under U.S. Coast Guard contract DOT-CG-00505A, a determination was made of the population and density distribution of the world merchant fleet over the time period 1969 to 1980. This paper is an abridgement of the 150 page report covering this aspect of the study. The study compares various information sources for establishing the fleet population by size and vessel service category. It then examines each service category and postulates a method for distributing the ships along their trade routes. In this manner it was found that out of some 50,000 ships larger than 100 gt in 1969, approximately 21,000 were at sea. The distribution is shown on word charts. The methos is compared to a more gross method where ships, regardless of service category, were tracked by their daily reported arrivals and departures for nearly two months. The methods agree within less than 1%. A third method, updating a previous study, agreed within 6%. Historical trends and expert forecasts of ship trade in all impprtant commodities are examined and applied to determine a forecasted merchant fleet growth and distribution, taking into account trends in ship size. While the total number of ships is projected to grow by about 8% by 1980, improvements in efficiency show teh "at-sea" population to grow by 40%.
Published in: NAVIGATION: Journal of the Institute of Navigation, Volume 18, Number 2
Pages: 176 - 187
Cite this article: Thompson, Robert P., "SIZE AND OCEAN DISTRIBUTION OF THE WORLD MERCHANT FLEET: PRESENT AND FUTURE", NAVIGATION: Journal of The Institute of Navigation, Vol. 18, No. 2, Summer 1971, pp. 176-187.
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