What are Cargo Ships? Types and Meaning

As far as we know, shipping freight is considered the best mode of transportation modes, this is because it handles delicate materials safely and it is relatively cheap. When mentioning sea freight, the cargo ship can help you understand this shipping mode more clearly. Now, you will get detailed information for cargo ships on this page.

What are the cargo ships?

Wikipedia has a detailed explanation of cargo ships, “A cargo ship or freighter is a merchant ship that carries cargo, goods, and materials from one port to another. “In simple speak, it is a tool that is used for transportation at sea.

The cargo ships are made of welded steel, and their life can last for about 25-30 years. Every year, thousands of cargo carriers deliver cargo across the sea around the world. It becomes more and more popular for freight forwarders because it is cheap than air and ensures shipping cargo safety.

cargo ship 1

What are the 8 types of cargo ships?

According to the way of use, the cargo ship is divided into 8 types of cargo ships below.

1. Container Ships

A container ship is a ship specialized in transporting containers, so it is called a container ship. Its cabins are all used to load containers, and if necessary, containers can also be placed on the deck.

Container specification is divided into 40ft and 20ft. To obtain a better economy, its speed is generally higher than other cargo ships. Most of the cargo holds are single-deck and double-hull, which can stack 3-9 layers of containers. The economic speed is 19-24kn.

Compare with other general ships, it has many advantages:

1. High loading and unloading efficiency, fast turnover, and low operating costs

2. Container transportation saves loading and unloading and tallying procedures and simplifies operating procedures

3. Reduce damage and loss of goods

This is the picture of the container ship for you.

2. General Cargo Ships

A general cargo ship refers to a ship that regularly sails on a busy freight route and ships sporadic cargo. Various general cargoes are mixed in the same cabin. It is mainly used to load miscellaneous goods in general packaging, bags, boxes, and barrels.

The general cargo capacity is about 10,000 to 20,000 tons, usually with double decks. The new general cargo ships are generally multi-purpose and can carry not only ordinary general cargo but also bulk cargo, bulky cargo, refrigerated cargo, and containers.

The characteristic of a general cargo ship is below:

1. The cargo hold is designed as a multi-deck structure, usually 2-3 decks.

2. Mix various general cargo into one cabin and ship various cargo.

3. RO-RO Vessels

RO-RO ship, called Roll-on/roll-off, ferry boat, or car ferry, is a water transportation tool that carries cars across rivers or seas. Belonging to a kind of ferry.

In addition to being used as a ferry, there is also a ro-ro ship mainly used by vehicle manufacturers, importers, and exporters to transport vehicles and power machinery in large quantities. The interior of this ro-ro ship is like a three-dimensional parking lot, which can park hundreds to thousands of vehicles.

The Ro-Ro ship has some pros below:

1. Same as the container ship, it has high loading and unloading efficiency. It loads the containers through the vehicle work, it can save the amount of labor force.

2. Strong operability, no lifting equipment is required on the ship and the shore, even if the port equipment is in poor condition, the ro-ro ship can efficiently load and unload the ro-ro ship.

3. Greater adaptability. In addition to loading containers, it can also carry special cargo and various large-scale cargo.

4. Reefer Ships

The reefer ships refer to ship that delivers perishable items like fish, meat, and fruit at low temperature. It mainly uses for fishery pelagic fishing.

Reefer transportation is the lowest cost refrigerated transportation method among all transportation methods. In the past, affected by the climate, loading, and unloading were troublesome, the transportation time was long, and the use was limited. But now with the improvement of technology, reefer transportation has become the most important means of transportation in the international corrosive trade.

The shipping features of reefer ships are below:

1. Due to the limitation of freight volume, the tonnage of reefer ships is not large, usually hundreds to thousands of tons.

2. Mainly ship the perishable cargo.

5. Bulk Carriers

Bulk carriers are ships that are specially used to transport unpacked goods, such as coal, ore, timber, livestock, grain, etc.

Because the dry bulk carrier has a single type of cargo, it does not need to be packed into bundles, bags, or boxes for loading and transportation, and it is not afraid of extrusion and is easy to load and unload, so they are all single-deck ships. With a total load of more than 50,000 tons.

You need to pay attention to these precautions below when you ship cargo by bulk carriers.

1. The type of bulk vessels are divided into many different boats. Like the handy size bulk carrier, Panamax bulk carrier, etc.

2. Mainly to ship the cargo that bulk, various cargo will be placed together.

6. Oil Tankers

Oil tankers are ships mainly used to transport liquid cargo. Due to the massive volume of crude oil transportation, the load capacity of the oil tanker can reach more than 500,000 tons, making it the largest ship.

Oil tankers can be divided into oil tankers and liquefied natural gas ships according to cargo types.

Liquefied natural gas ships refer to ships that carry oil and petroleum products (diesel, gasoline, heavy oil, etc.).

Oil tankers mainly carry crude oil in bulk. Currently, the largest oil tanker in the world can have 550,000 tons of crude oil. A product oil tanker is a ship especially carrying petroleum products such as diesel oil and gasoline. The structure is like the crude oil tanker, but the tonnage is smaller. There are high fire and explosion-proof requirements.

7. Tankers

A ship dedicated to the carriage of liquid cargo. Liquid goods mainly include oil, liquefied gas, fresh water, and chemical liquids. Among them, the largest volume is petroleum and its products. The different goods carried, can be divided into a crude oil tanker, a product oil tanker, a liquid chemical tanker, liquefied gas tanker, etc.

Liquefied petroleum gas ship referred to the “ship” dedicated to the transportation of liquefied petroleum gas.

Liquefied natural gas carrier referred to a “ship” dedicated to the transportation of liquefied natural gas.

A liquid chemical tanker refers to a ship that delivers the most liquid chemicals that be toxic, flammable, and highly corrosive, and there are many varieties. Therefore, most of the ships have double bottoms, and the cargo holds are many and small.

8. Timber boat

It is a ship specially used to load timber or logs. This kind of ship has a large hatch, and there are no beams and columns in the cabin and other equipment that hinder loading and unloading. Wood can be loaded in the cabin and on the deck.

What is the difference between cruise ship and cargo ship?

Often, cruises and cargo ships are used in international shipping. But many people don’t realize what difference between them. There are some differences between them below to help you.

1. The purpose of the building difference.

The cruise is designed for the passenger, letting them enjoy their journey and delivering them arrived the destination safely.

The cargo ship is designed for moving cargo. According to the way of use, it can be divided into many shipping types. For example, the container ship is often used for transporting containers. The dry bulk cargo ship is mainly to deliver the unpacking cargo.

2. Speed difference

A cargo ship is huger and heavier than a cruise. So, the speed design of cargo is slower than the cruise ship. The average cargo ship speed is about 12~14 knots.

But the cruise ship can go twice fast as a cargo ship.

3. Accommodation design on ships

The cargo ship has small rooms for the people because they want to ship cargo as much as possible. But the cruise ship is designed for the passenger, there are many rooms for them, like movie theaters, party rooms, and swimming pools.

How can ASL offer you the best cargo ship service?

Considering the growth of sea transportation, the demand for cargo ships is increasing in the coming years. Whether exporting or importing, choosing the best shipping company can get the best rates and shipping process smoothly. They can help you with your headaches.

Airsupply built relationships with many vessel lines and gets the best discount. Our business scope is all over the world. And whether dangerous cargo, liquid, and general cargo, we can help you. Contact us through the button below.

What questions do people also ask?

Q: How many containers are on a container ship?

A: Generally speaking, it can reach 1,000 to 10,000 containers. But when loading, it is seldom possible to load the number of standard boxes of a ship. The main reason is that there are too many containers packed, which may exceed the deadweight tonnage of the ship.

Q: What are the most common types of cargo ships?

A: The most used types of cargo ships are, container ships, tankers, RO-RO ships, bulk carriers, and refrigerated cargo ships.

Q: How can I find a reliable vessel line to export goods?

A: We can help you. Please email with cargo detailed information, such as the type of cargo, name, and number. We ensure that ship cargo smoothly at the best price.

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