Characteristics Regional Short Sea Services Feeder Services Ferry Services
Market Regional or intra-corporation cargo Feeder cargo (from/to deepsea services) Regional cargo
Frequency Fixed schedule with low frequency Shipping line schedule Fixed schedule with high frequency
Service Orientation Regional loop Transshipment hubs Point to point
Operations Lift-on/Lift-off (Lo/Lo); Roll-on/Roll-off (Ro/Ro) Roll-on/Roll-off (Ro/Ro) Roll-on/Roll-off (Ro/Ro)
Cargo type Containers, break bulk, Ro/Ro Containers Trucks, trailers, passengers
Competition Road and rail transport (if present) Direct port calls Road and air transport (if present)
Infrastructure Requirements Shore-side cranes, warehouses and container storage areas Shore-side cranes and container storage areas Minimal (quays), particularly if vessels have self-sustaining ramps
Characteristics of Short Sea Shipping Services
Short sea shipping is often perceived as a single type of maritime service taking place over short distances while it involves three main types of distinct services:
  • Regional short sea services. Concerns specific connections that are designed to service commercial relations, commonly within the same corporation (dedicated single services) with scheduled but low frequency services. It can involve bulk or containerized cargoes, depending on the commercial relation, carried by smaller ships, unless large volumes of bulk cargoes are involved, such as for petroleum or mining products.
  • Feeder services. Connections that are integrated in the global container shipping network through the use of transshipment hubs to move containers from feeder (smaller ships) to deepsea (large ships) services. These services are scheduled according to the network strategies of the shipping lines and can be replaced with direct calls if volumes are substantial enough. Feeder services are effective to link smaller ports to the global shipping network, but involve additional delays due to transshipment as well as higher costs per TEU because of the lack of economies of scale.
  • Ferry services. Fixed point to point services running on scheduled and high frequency routes that usually accommodate a combination of passengers and freight flows using roll-on / roll-off operations. They are present to service well defined connections that include social (passengers) and commercial (freight) interactions.