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Types of Vessels There are various kinds and types of ships available for facilitating International Trade transactions.

Ships form a major part of International Logistics. Even though there are around 45000 commercial ships all around the world, almost every ships among these is designed differently. Hence, they are classified in broader groups, with many ships not fitting into a single category. Size Categories: One of the biggest distinction made on ships sizes is the one made between the ships that can travel through the Panama Canal and the one that cannot. A ship of maximum size that can possibly fit through these locks is called Panamax ships; such a ship can have upto 75000 tonnes Dead Weight Tonnage (DWT) and its outside dimensions allow it to barely fit the within the lock, with just a few inches of clearance between the locks walls and the ship. The longest ship to cross Panama canal is the Marcona Prospector, which is 973 feet long and 106 feet wide. The widest is the USS New Jersey, which is 108 feet wide. All ships built that are larger than this size are called post-Panamax ships. Other terminologies used are:

2. 3.

Suez-Max Ships: This term is used to describe ships sized at roughly 150,000 DWT and which are of maximum size that can pass through Suez Canal. However, in 1996, Suez canal was deepened and widened, so the Suez max terminology is losing some of its validity. Capesize Ships: This term is used to describe large dry-bulk carriers of capacity greater than 80,000 DWT. Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCC): This term is used to describe an oil tanker up to 300,000 DWT.


Ultra Large Crude Carrier (ULCC): This term is used to describe an oil tanker more than 300,000 DWT. One of the ULCC is the Sea Giant with 555,000 DWT. Such ships generally are unable to go to traditional ports and hence remin deep into the sea. Their cargo is removed by the process called Lightering.

Various types of Vessels include: Container ships Ro-Ro Carriers Break Bulk Carriers Combination Carriers Lash Carriers Crude Carriers Dry Bulk Carriers Gas Carriers


Importance The containerized trade is increasing every year. About 60% of world trade and more than 70% of Indian International Logistics are handled by ocean transport. The Containerized transport is growing at about 9-10% every year. Given the fact that traditionally goods were shipped by break bulk, however, presently, most of the cargo is transported by containers For example, forestry products or grain. Also, where intermodal transport is also responding well, containers,

which were developed in 1956, will definitely dominate the trade pattern. Container ships are also known as Box Ships which carry containerized cargo on a scheduled voyage. Vessels dedicated to containerized trade can carry up to 6600 TEUs (Twenty foot Equivalent Units) or the space equivalent to Twenty-foot container, but there are a large number of mixed cargo ships that can also carry containers, sometimes as few as 100 TEUs. Traditional Ships and Post Panamax ships Most container ships rely on port cranes to load/unload its cargo, but some ships have their own cranes on board. Initially, most of the ships used to be capable of going through Panama Canal and used to carry around 3000 containers. But later, the increase in international trade made the ship building industry to build Ships bigger than those were available previously. When first post-Panamax ships were delivered, they carried around 4500 TEUs and forced some substantial changes in the ports. Inaccessibility to ports

For example, they were so wide that ports had to upgrade their crane equipments and other infrastructure accordingly as you can see in above figure. Moreover, some ports became totally inaccessible because of various reasons such as they do not fit under the bridge or the channels are not deep enough. In such cases, lightering process has to be carried out to load and unload the cargo from the ship. Containership stacking Container ships hold containers under deck as well as on deck. Some containers a re first loaded into the hold of the ships, then the hatch covers (on deck) are put in place and the remaining containers are stacked on the deck On deck containers are usually stacked on top of each other sometimes even up to 5-6 levels. However, such stacking has to be done taking into consideration the movement of ship during voyage. RO-RO CARRIERS (Roll On Roll Off Vessels) :

The RO/RO vessel (RO/RO or RORO) derived from the traditional car ferry, where motor vehicles are driven on and off by their drivers. RO/RO is popular within the European trade routes. It is also used in other trade routes like the U.S.A.-Central America route and Europe-West Africa route. The RO/RO is equipped with ramp(s) that makes loading and unloading from the side and/or bow (front of vessel) and/or stern

(rear of vessel) possible. Some modern RO/ROs are designed as a trailer/break-bulk/container carrier suitable for the deep-sea voyage (long haul), making loading and unloading of containers from the top, like a full container ship, possible using the crane. The type of cargo that can be carried on a RO/RO is flexible, including large objects. The full RO/RO has low stowage factors, as a result of wasted space around the underside of the trailers and other motor vehicles. Therefore, the full RO/RO is not ideal for deep-sea trade. The low stowage factors, however, are compensated for by the quickness of the "turn around' time in ports in the short-sea voyage (short haul). RORO ships have an advantage in that specialized lifting equipments is not required, even for the heaviest of loads, since the cargo rolls over its own power or is pulled by a tractor. Hence, it only needs some docking space and substantial number of dock workers to load and unload its cargo. There is difference between the pure car carrier which loads only cars and have decks with only 5 feet overhead clearance, and the another more versatile, true roro ships which can accommodate larger cargo. Many Ro-Ro ships have the facility of adjustable decks, which allow them any sort of rolling cargo. As the number of car manufacturers worldwide increases, it seems that future of Ro-Ro concept is secure. However, there are several companies that are selling specialized containers that can handle 6 automobiles (on two levels) at once, containers that can

be collapsed and placed into regular container while return trip. This concept is attractive as it overcomes 2 drawbacks of Ro-Ro ships. Firstly, there is no need to hire expensive stevedore labour to drive the vehicle on to the ships which is replaced by cheaper inland labour to load and unload the container. Secondly, it eliminates the cost of changing the configuration of the decks so that regular bulk cargo can be loaded in the now-empty roro ship in the return trip.


It constitute least homogeneous category of vessels. As the name suggests, break bulk ships are created for specialized trade on given shipping lines. They can transport shipments of unusual sizes, unitized and palletized cargo or cargo packed in bags or in crates. These ships are larger than that of regular container ships.

Problems with break bulk ships: 1. Labour intensive loading and unloading. Dock labour is costly. Hence more costly mode of shipping the goods. 2. Each unitized load has to handled separately. 3. As every cargo is of different cargo, each piece needs different equipment of different sizes every time such cargo is loaded and unloaded. Hence loading and unloading time is more in case of Break bulk ships. 4. Break bulk ships stay in ports for much more time as compared to traditional container ships. Hence the cost of shipment to the final customer increases. 5. Some of the cargo cannot be loaded or unloaded in rain 6. Schedules of these ships are also erratic.

LASH (Lighter Aboard Ship)

The lighter aboard ship or LASH---barge-carrier or barge-carrying vessel---is designed to carry lighters (barges), where they are lifted by crane over the stern (rear) of the vessel. The LASH and barge come in different configurations. Some LASH ships can accommodate over 24 barges. Each barge may carry 600 to 1,000 metric tons of cargo, which is much bigger than the ocean freight container, and can float and be towed up and down a river or canal, thus the barge is often referred to as the floating container.

The LASH is useful in moving a relatively large volume of cargo in the short-sea trade and to and from sites on rivers and canals, such as Rhine Canal in Europe, that cannot be used by the larger oceangoing vessels. The LASH keeps the load in the same vessel for the entire trip, thus reduces cargo handling, transport costs and time. The LASH is popular in Europe, taking advantage of the extensive inland waterway systems which are the cheapest means of inland transport. The export goods from landlocked European countries like Switzerland may move by LASH or other inland waterway transports to the port of Rotterdam (Netherlands) or Antwerp (Belgium), and transfer to the ocean going vessel for the deep-sea voyage. LASH (barge): A floating container measuring eighteen meters by nine meters by three meters that can be unloaded from LASH mothership and can be tugged to its destination in a port or to an area without port facilities. LASH (mother ship): A ship equipped with cranes that is designed to carry around eighty LASH barges and can load and unload them at anchor (i.e. without having to be in port). COMBINATION SHIPS

These are ultimate multipurpose ships. Designed to carry all sorts of loads in a single voyage. It is designed to carry all sorts of cargo in one single voyage. Typically these ships carry cargo such as timber, grains in several holds, bulk cargo holds for over sized and heavy loads such as machines, containers, RO-RO on double decks loaded through access doors.

It has one or more cranes on board, to increase its versatility and loading/unloading speed. Combination ships are thriving in shipping lanes that have very low volume of trade e.g. Trade from small island countries in South Pacific and Caribbean. Twin Deck: In a combination ship, a deck located below the main deck that is used to carry smaller size break bulk cargo, such as vehicles. DRY BULK CARRIERS Dry Bulk carriers operate in the same way as oil tankers where they are chartered for the whole voyage. Dry bulk ships have many holds in their hulls, where non unitized cargo is stored. There are many types of dry bulk ships, and because of the trade in which they are engaged, the type of merchandize they carry and the ports on which they call, dry bulk ships can have specialized configurations or equipments. Generally, these ships carry agricultural products like cereals, as well as coal, ores, scrap iron, dry chemicals and other such commodities. In terms of size, dry bulk carriers are small enough to pass through Panama canal, some of them tend to be much smaller, around 10,000 DWT