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Chapter 196 - What Could Go Wrong[]

Thazi (Independent System)
16th February, 3045

Major General (President) David Mitchell had explained to Derek Paulson, his business advisor, his plans for starting a shipping company. He had been met with some resistance to the idea and this frustrated him. "So, why is this such a problem to you?"

"It is a very expensive operation to run. A quick lesson, standard rates for a single Dropship is roughly 50,000 per jump. So, a Merchant can make 100,000 per jump. You said you wanted to corner the market moving stuff out here for the Federated Commonwealth. Fine, that is six jumps. So, each Merchant will bring in 600,000 C-bills for a single journey that takes say 2 months. It can make a total of 6 trips in a year, 3 trips to Wokha and 3 trips back to wherever. That is 36 jumps per Merchant. That is 3.6 Million C-bills per year per ship.

Your Chief Zuniga was already having a hissy fit over down time for maintenance checks. I believe I heard him saying 25 jump max before a 1 month maintenance checkout. If nothing is broken, hey great, but if something does break your looking at millions in repair costs. If your lucky, you can maybe get the FedCom to go 75,000 per collar due to the danger of operating way out here. That brings the total to 5.4 Million per Merchant. Better, but still a massive risk of a loss for the year if there is a major breakdown. Now, if you were operating Star Lord's only, then it becomes more feasible. Your talking like 16.5 Million C-bills per year for each one. I am not by any means an expert on this subject matter, that would be Lieutenant Colonel Campbell, but I have seen enough small shipping companies go broke quite easily. Your only advantage over those is the fact that you own the ships outright and do not have payments to make. That is your only advantage.

I would be willing to bet that if a search was done right now, there are at least 2 maybe three small shipping companies about to go broke or have already been put on notice by their creditors, usually Comstar, that they are about to lose their ships or whatever was put up for collateral. Then you have the independent owner operators, where most are operators and not true owners of their ships. Probably a dozen or more of those every year are put up for sell. Add in the fact that there is nothing our here that can handle anything larger than a Merchant and your talking millions to send your larger ships deep into the Federated Commonwealth for anything requiring a shipyard. That could easily translate to a year or two of down time for any single ship.

If we were operating within the Federated Commonwealth proper, with a shipyard say 6 jumps away, I could be more behind this venture. But under the current operating conditions, I cannot advise you to take this risk. I feel it is going to be a major money pit and will incur massive debts or problems down the road. My advice is to not do this." Derek Paulson replied

"Boy, when you throw water on an idea, you really throw a ton of water on an idea. Shall we move on to a brighter subject please. What else do you have for me?" Major General (President) Mitchell said

"Okay. I have been working out a plan for the farming operations with several of the experts and one of the Elders. Going by the seeds you have orders. We have come to a working plan and a projection for 3045 and beyond." He pulled a page from his ever present clipboard and handed it over. He waited until Major General (President) Mitchell had a good look at it before continuing.

Crop Projection 3045 and 3046

Wheat - 180,000 acres - 3045 429,230 tons - 3046 429,230 tons
Corn - 50,000 acres - 3046 230,769 tons
Sorghum - 10,000 acres - 3046 21,794 tons
Soybean - 10,000 acres - 3046 15,384 tons
Coffee - 10,000 acres - 3050 est 40,000 tons
Rice - 10,000 acres - 3047 est 40,000 tons
Potato - 20,000 acres - 3046 400,000 tons
Strawberry - 10,000 acres - 3046 150,000 tons
Blueberry - 5,000 acres - 3048 est 7,500 tons
Blackberry - 5,000 acres - 3047 est 50,000 tons
Black Pepper - 5,000 acres - 3047 est 5,000 tons
Bell Pepper - 10,000 acres - 3046 75,000 tons
Onion - 10,000 acres - 3046 250,000 tons
Tomato - 10,000 acres - 3046 150,000 tons
Raspberry - 2,000 acres - 3047 est 30,000 tons
Okra - 10,000 acres - 3046 75,000 tons
Sweet Potato - 10,000 acres - 3046 150,000 tons
Carrot - 10,000 acres - 3046 100,000 tons
Sweet Pea - 10,000 acres - 3046 25,000 tons
Green Bean - 10,000 acres - 3047 50,000 tons

"As you can see, some of our crops will take some time to bear fruit, pun intended. I am told that these are conservative figures and could vary wildly but the consensus is this is what we can expect. If you can get most of this moved to market, my math says we will have 240,620,318 C-Bills of crops in 3046. But that is if you sell every bit of it. We both know that a chunk will have to be held back to feed Thazi. We cannot predict how much that will be. Coffee production is over 50 million but that is the local stuff gathered as they find it about 1,500 miles from here along the equator belt. Our projection is once we also get it in a more commercially viable setup, we can boost it further. Luckily, it grows in dense bunches and I am told gathering several tons is quite easy manually, our projections are using several harvesters to boost production next year.

Our current harvesters can harvest 300 acres per day as an average, it takes all 80 of them a week to harvest the wheat crop. I suggest we try and improve those numbers as best we can. But until we do, we will be staggering the crops as best we can so that not much is ready to harvest at the same time. We are also keeping the total acre counts low until better equipment or we see how bad we screwed up our estimates and projections. Once we get a better feel, we can increase or decrease the acre counts. Perfect world we would have enough harvesters to harvest our entire production of all types in a single week. We also need to think about storage, 400,000 tons equals about 10 Mammoth loads, and we only have one of those. Loading is currently a major chore and labor intensive; we need an improved space port and bulk loading ability via large conveyor belts.

But overall, from starting with basically nothing, even these projections are like nothing I have seen before. A quarter billion of revenue in the first year is impressive." Derek Paulson said

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