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I don't think rail will ever be competitive with sea transport on such distances. It just costs a whole lot less to transport stuff on the water, even before you take into account the number of jurisdictions these trains would have to go through.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 07:18:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This surely assumes that oil remains cheaper than electricity?  (or perhaps we'll switch to nuclear ships, or sails?)
by njh on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 05:26:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sailing ships works perfectly well, particularly when combined with a solar-powered electric engine.

Time-critical cargoes can still go on oil-powered ships when rail is not an option, but most cargoes are not time-critical.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 06:30:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure I'm entirely comfortable with the concept of letting every merchie run around with a big pile of fissile material. That sounds like a really good way to make Stuff Go Boom at some point...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 06:32:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Instead of oil spill, nuclear waste spill.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 06:38:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And nuclear proliferation.

And meltdowns.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 09:26:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes.

Ans shipping doesn't really consume much oil anyway. Better to build nuclear power plants in the areas where oil is still used to generate power, like the Northeastern United States.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 11:02:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A couple of factors to consider; the distance from most Chinese cities to Western Europe is shorter via rail by a significant amount. The value of the merchandise being transported has a significant impact on the value of "Time in Transit". Rail will never be competitive from China to Europe or v.v. for low value commodity items, but for chemicals, electronics, and similar, the saving of 10 days to two weeks is worthwhile.
by jfbeaulieu on Mon Dec 28th, 2009 at 07:01:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OTOH (and depending a bit on the route map), the (perceived) political risk might be bigger.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Dec 31st, 2009 at 12:49:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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