Types of Cargo Ships

Fri Feb 26 2021 09:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Logistics and particularly goods transportation are integral aspects of all businesses. Supply chain lines can make or break an enterprise which makes ocean freight transport a decisive aspect in the success of an economy.

Shipping is a nuanced sector whose complexity increases the deeper one delves into it. Although the technical features need not be mastered, it is essential for those running a business to know the types of ships that are shuttling their precious cargo. This will help them book the appropriate mode of transport for their products. The most common types of Cargo Ships are described below.


Container Ships

Container ships are one of the most established forms of ocean transportations and are widely used all over the world. It derives its name from the concept of containerization wherein goods are packed in containers of standardized sizes. Container vessels ship these containers across the seas, hence the moniker.

The advent of container ships can be traced back as far as the mid 20th century. It was conceptualized to improve efficiency in the transportation process by linking road and sea transportation. Prior to the use of standardized containers, goods had to be packed and dismantled at the origin and destination ports. These transiting processes were incredibly labor intensive, time-consuming and expensive. Containers took these steps out of the equation as they can be loaded or attached directly to the trucks. The only drawback is that ports require specific equipment for loading/unloading the containers which means that only the larger ports can accommodate container ships.


Bulk Vessels

Bulk carrier vessels are characterised by the size and utility. They are primarily used to cater to the transportation requirements of unpackaged goods. Their cargo includes loose goods like grains, spices, fertilizers, etc. The primary purpose behind the design of bulk vessels is to keep the large quantities of cargo dry. This is a key parameter to avoid contamination of the largely unprocessed goods. These bulkers, as they are commonly known, are also used to transport liquefied commodities such as crude oil.

Bulk ships started gaining popularity in the 19th century when international trade spurred on by globalisation was being promoted by both private and public players. Bulk vessels have been cited to hold control over 40% of the world’s sea cargo.


Reefer Vessels

Reefer ships are specialized transportation vessels used to transport temperature sensitive goods. Their services are enlisted when the commodities need to be frozen for the entirety of the journey. The products that are ferried most frequently by reefer vessels include meat, fish and farm produce like fruits and vegetables. They are sometimes used in transporting flammable or reactive substances like industrial chemicals and alcohols.

Reefer vessels are typically smaller than bulk and container vessels owing to the nature of its cargo. The first vessels with refrigeration capacity arrived around the late 1870s. As innovations in refrigeration technology started gaining momentum in the past century, so have reefer vessels with many of them going through numerous upgrades to improve efficiency.


Barge Vessels

Barge vessels are large freight transportation units typically used to cover shorter distances as opposed to their counterparts. The characteristic feature of barge vessels is that they are not independent ships. They are large flat platforms optimized to provide maximum storage capacity. Barges are floating pontoons that have to be tugged by other naval vessels.

Barges came into being to reduce the turnaround time at ports. This is because the tugboats need not remain during the loading or unloading process. Barges are also convenient for ports that have limitations on space. Moreover, the tugboats can capitalize on the movement potential as multiple journeys can be made in the time which would otherwise be spent at ports.


Tanker Vessels

After container ships, tanker vessels are one of the most identifiable forms of cargo vessels. They are synonymous with the oil & gas industry and are used to transport liquids and liquefied gases. Tanker ships hold the distinction of being the longest seafaring transportation vessels.

Tanker ships are often designed to carry specific cargo across significant distances. For instance, there are tankers capable of carrying raw crude and others able to carry only liquefied natural gas. They can also be used for the transportation of unstable or volatile chemicals. Specific instructions are provided by the stakeholders when commissioning the production of tanker vessels.


Multi-purpose Vessels

As the name indicates, multi-purpose vessels can be used to transport a variety of goods. They often have enhancement, addition or modification options to meet the requirement of various types of cargo. This versatility makes multi-purpose vessels popular amongst shipping companies as it gives them the option to cater to a larger clientele.

Sea shipping is a dynamic industry and almost every business is dependent on it directly or indirectly. There are a plethora of cargo shipping options to choose from and container vessels are usually the most sought out for. However, choosing the right type of vessel that is ideal for your product can improve your profits on the basis of parameters like time for delivery and possibility of damage.


To know more about shipping and cargo services, contact Anchor Link Shipping’s agents. Our Team would be delighted to talk to you.