An examination of shipping costs and their effects on Tasmanian exporting industries : research project.

by Charles Phillip Haddon-Cave

Institution: University of Tasmania
Year: 1945
Keywords: Shipping; Export marketing
Record ID: 1052802
Full text PDF: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/19921/1/whole_Haddon-CaveCP1945_thesis.pdf


Concurrently with other investigations, the Department of Economics and Commerce in this University during 1937, 1938 and 1939 conducted research into the cost structure of Australian industry. The research, Mr. D. L. Anderson, B.Com, prefaced his monograph by pointing out that the utility of such an investigation was difficult to define before the results of the investigation were known. The same observation may be made of the present study; the results of which can only be said to be indeterminate. Nor can the work done be justified on the grounds that it constitutes, to quote Anderson, "a first stop in a theoretical analysis which may finally result in same practical result, such as the improvement of economic or technical efficiency." For example, inductive confirmation of some of the currently hold theories of industrial location' wore sought but little light has been thrown on the applicability of such theories. It was decided to conduct an examination of the effects of shipping costs on specific industries for two reasons. Firstly, the financial history of the State since Federation has emphasised the cost of Bass Strait to the Tasmanian community, 'Being wholly dependent on sea carriage for the transportation of imports and exports, every ship and every freight rate is a factor in the prosperity of the State. Secondly, the survey conducted last year of the gross and net labour absorptive capacity of Tasmanian secondary industries suggested that the ruling level of shipping freight rates was a determining factor so far as output policies and industrial expansion were concerned. However, it may even be that, particularly where production economies are desired, output is expanded in spite of freight costs. For a full understanding of the Tasmanian position it is necessary to realise that not only is Tasmania isolated from the other States, but it is divided into four sections each of which is economically isolated from the others'. Although a very small State the climate and the quality of the soil vary considerably, with the result that each section specialises in a particular branch of primary production. The West is an extensive mining field - its only port is Strahan. The North West Coast produces chiefly oats, peas, potatoes, timber and fat stock and its interstate ports arc Stanley, Burnie, Devonport and Ulverstone. The North and North East produces chiefly wool, grain, hay and fruit, and is served almost wholly by the port of Launceston. The chief primary products of the South are fruit and timber for which the interstate port is Hobart. The exportable output of the secondary industries is also distributed among the four groups of ports. In regard to secondary industry it is hardly necessary to stress the point that the tariff has not succeeded in promoting manufacturing industry in Tasmania. Owing to the absence of a home market, the limited supply of labour and the insular position of the State with the keen mainland competition, it is difficult to…