Transport Economics by C. H. Sharp (auth.)

By C. H. Sharp (auth.)

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Capacity should not be increased to 0 V4 with the relationships shown in Fig. 3, since the extra cost IMV4Va would be greater than the value of the benefits]RV4Va. With the optimum capacity Va the price that will just cause all the capacity to be used, and which, in these circumstances, is the optimum price, is ]Va or OPs (=£35) . This is less than long-run marginal cost at this point of HVa (=£45) but greater than short-run marginal cost KVa (=£10). The optimum price would be equal to short-run marginal cost if the demand curve sloped more steeply and cut the short-run marginal cost curve before passing the Va capacity line.

As was the case with road investment, attempts to use economic criteria to evaluate port investment projects are comparatively recent. The Committee of Inquiry into the Major Ports of Great Britain [12], the Rochdale Committee (this must be distinguished from the later Inquiry into Shipping conducted under the Chairmanship of Viscount Rochdale), which reported in 1962, concluded that at that time there was no 'independent economic test of the need for a proposed [port] development scheme'. ) was set up, but this was not given powers to make final investment decisions itself, as the 1962 Report had recommended.

Closely linked with this difficulty is the problem of choosing between short- and long-run marginal cost as a basis for pricing. These problems are illustrated in Fig. 3. This is based on the imaginary data shown in Table 2 for a transport undertaking (which could be an airline, a bus company, a railway or a road haulier) . The output capacity of the undertaking can thus be increased only by indivisible 'lumps' of 20 units, and it has been assumed that long-run costs are falling, while short-run marginal costs (SRMC) are constant.

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