b 4.0
Friday, January 21, 2005
The big event yesterday was Peter Swift (Managing Director of Intertanko)'s Peachman Lecture on the "Oil Shipping Today." While it sounds like a bit of a dull topic, Mr. Swift raised some very interesting points; why are tanker disasters responded to with hardware-changing legislation while aircraft disasters are responded to with practice-changing suggestion? He spent a fair amount of time discussing the dichotomy between air travel dangers (acceptable even though people die) and oil transport dangers (unacceptable without fatalities), between the amount spent in investigation, recovery, and resolution of the cause (millions for aircraft, billions for tankers), and between media coverage of firey jet crashes (3-5 days) and shipping wrecks (6-9 days). I think shippers make an easier scapegoat: virtually no one relates to ships while a figurative everyone has been aboard a plane, and in this unknowing we have created a gulf between the two means of transportation. The effect of this is measured in dollars - the dollars we're willing to spend to get around. If tanker owners built new ships right now (possibly averting disaster), gas would go up around $0.15/gallon. What would the cost increase in airfare be if all new planes were required? Zoinks. So, shippers have to upgrade hardware while airlines get a memo from the FAA.

© 2007 Corey Bruno