As the name suggests, a vessel structured specifically to hold huge quantities of cargo compacted in different types of containers is referred to as a container vessel (ship). The process of sending cargo in special containers is known as containerization.
The initiation of the container shipping forms one of the most remarkable developments in the maritime cargo industry. Container ships, a type of cargo ship, have revolutionised the manner in which cargo supplies are ferried and transported across the world, by providing assurance of safety and security of the thus transported cargo supplies. Some of the biggest shipping companies today deal mainly with containerized form of cargo.
The very first models of container ships were launched in the early 1950s and were mainly designed to ferry goods trains’ freight cars. Using crane systems and ramp systems, these freight cars could be laded and unloaded from the vessels. Over the years technological advancement has made it possible for comparatively far more feasible methodologies, though crane systems still play a major role in the loading and unloading operations of the containers to and from the vessels’ holds. Specialized lashing and cargo handling systems are used to secure the containers in their places.
Container vessels are typical in that that they are constructed to accommodate immense possible cargo loads. The load holding capacitance of container vessels is measured in terms of Twenty-foot Equivalent Units or TEUs, with the biggest container ships carrying as much as over 15,000 -16,000 TEUs. Because of such high capacities, some of the largest ships in the world are container ships.
Within a container ship, there are well demarcated holds that separate each container from each other which simplifies the entirety of the piling of the containers.
- In essence, container ships are regarded to be a generic reference. Within their ambit, there are several different types of container ships. Each container vessel is unique and different, with an undiminished operational singularity. Some of the various types of container vessels can be highlighted as thus:
- Container ships that are built specifically to fit into the channels of the Panama Canal are referred to as the Panamax container vessels. These ships can be loaded with a maximum TEU of about 5,000 and measure slightly over 290 metres lengthwise.
- The smallest variance of container vessels is the Small Feeder type. These container vessels can carry loads up to 1000 TEUs. Several developments made to the Feeder categorisation has resulted in the development of the categories of ‘Feedermax’ and ‘Feeder.’ The former can carry a maximum of about 3,000 TEUs while the latter can carry around 2,000 TEUs.
Container shipping vessels represent a majority in terms of the packaged cargo ferried across the world. On account of the relevance and the ever-increasing demand for better maritime cargo transportation channels, there has been seen huge strides in the container ships’ domain. Such advancements are expected to grow even more in the days to come.
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