- Transshipment costs: a bicycle manufactured in Vietnam and ordered in Madrid may be handled four or five times;
- Shippers do not like too much transshipment and long distances, preferring to have their containers as close to them as possible;
- Consolidation and distribution use land infrastructure without paying for the private use of a public good;
- External costs of hub-and-spoking (congestion; pollution; accidents) may at times be as high as 2% of European GDP;
- It is doubtful if the economies of scale in shipping are passed on to the final consumer, as required by the exception of consortia and alliances from the provisions of competition law;
- Mega-ships are becoming an increasing headache to most ports and distribution centers, and a NIMBY approach is no longer acceptable to them and to the taxpayer who finances them;
- Large ships reduce loop frequency and increase the inventory costs of traders, thus defying the very same principles of supply chain optimization;
- HS penalizes the legitimate development plans of other ports, particularly as major hubs, now claiming from others efficiency and market-driven port investments, have been financed with public money for most part of their economic life.
In the last quarter of a century, economies of scale in shipping, distribution and logistical systems have totally changed our lives to the better. But transshipment, warehousing and distribution don’t come cheap, as our enthusiasm with logistics often assumes. It is good to know this and thus make sure that the costs (internal and external) of logistics operations are paid in full, including the costs of using public infrastructure. The latter because (to a large extent) infrastructure is no longer a public good and thus the user-pays principle should apply.