Line Navigation

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Line Navigation


the transportation of freight and passengers on maritime vessels over definite, predetermined routes (lines). The ships that operate on such lines are called line ships or liners. Two forms of navigation, scheduled and sequential, are predominant on sea routes.

In 1972, line navigation was served by about 800 sea and ocean shipping routes. Most of the routes are concentrated in the basins of the North, Baltic, and Mediterranean seas; there are also routes between Europe and other continents. For example, in 1972 there were 78 routes operating in shipping between Europe and the Atlantic coast of the USA, and they were plied by about 600 vessels with a total cargo capacity of 5 million tons. There were 25 routes from Europe to the Far East and 48 from Europe to Africa.

Line navigation is predominant in the shipping systems of the developed capitalist countries. In Great Britain, the USA, France, and Denmark it accounts for 65–70 percent of the total cargo capacity of the dry-cargo fleet; in the Netherlands and Belgium, 80 percent; and for the Federal Republic of Germany, Japan, and Sweden, 40–50 percent. Some capitalist shipping companies have organized globe-circling sea routes.

Soviet maritime vessels carry on line navigation among Soviet ports (coastal routes) and between Soviet and foreign ports (foreign routes). The latter include routes connecting the USSR with Bulgaria, the German Democratic Republic, Egypt, India, France, and Japan. On some routes, Soviet shipping companies are members of special international agreements on navigation, the line conferences (Australia-Europe, Mediterranean Sea-Canada, and so on). The growth in Soviet foreign trade, regionalization of shipping, and port specialization ’have created favorable conditions for the development of line navigation, and new specialized ships are continuously being built for it.

In 1972 the member countries of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance maintained 97 regular sea routes in foreign waters, on which they operated about 400 vessels with a cargo capacity of more than 2 million tons.


Bakaev, V. G. Mirovoe sudokhodstvo i morskoi transport kapitalisticheskikh stran. Moscow, 1964.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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