LIMANi Ship of Spain and Portugal – Container ships are responsible for transporting standardized containers of two sizes, 20- or 40-feet equivalent units (TEUs and FEUs). These containers are stored in cellular holds and stacked on the hatch covers and upper deck of the ships. The containers can carry both non-perishable and perishable goods, with the latter often requiring refrigerated containers.
Container shipping is commonly referred to as “liner shipping” due to its operation on regular schedules and set routes. This mode of transport is highly efficient and fast, thanks to the fully mechanized handling system for containers. Container ships rely on port container cranes to load and unload the containers.
Over the past two decades, types of ships like container ships have played a crucial role in the globalization of products. They have facilitated the manufacturing of consumer goods and products in developing countries with lower production costs, allowing for export to higher-cost countries.
The size of container ships has significantly increased in the last 20 years. While a large container ship in 2002 could carry around 6,500 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units), today’s largest containerships can transport nearly 24,000 TEU.
These economies of scale have led to a reduction in the per unit cost of manufactured goods for consumers. For example, shipping a washing machine from China to northern Europe costs around $10, which accounts for only 2-3% of the product’s total cost.
Furthermore, container ships have a low environmental impact. They emit an average of 30g CO2/tonne nm, compared to 140g CO2/tonne nm emitted by heavy goods vehicles. In fact, the CO2 emissions from an entire container voyage on a ship from China to Europe are equivalent to those of a European long-haul truck carrying the same container for only 200 kilometers.
What are Container Ships?
A container vessel, as its name implies, is a specialized ship designed to accommodate large amounts of cargo packed in different containers. This method of shipping goods in specially designed containers is referred to as containerization.
Container ships have emerged as one of the most efficient means of transporting goods. They have revolutionized global trade by enabling the transportation of massive quantities of cargo in a single voyage.
These cargo ships, known as container ships, are primarily used for transporting non-bulk cargoes across the seas. In today’s world, container vessels handle approximately 90% of the world’s non-bulk cargo. They have become the primary mode of transporting goods worldwide. The containers used in these ships are standardized in size, allowing for easy transfer between different modes of transportation. Container ships are capable of carrying a wide range of goods.
Due to the growing market demand, enhanced cargo-carrying capacity, improved operational efficiency, and advancements in environmental processes, container vessels in liner service have consistently grown in size. The container ships of today boast a staggering increase of over 1200% in their carrying capacity compared to 1968. Furthermore, they have undergone significant technological advancements, making them more fuel-efficient and technologically sophisticated.
History of Container Ships
The emergence of container shipping represents a significant milestone in the maritime cargo industry. Container ships, which are a specific type of cargo vessel, have completely transformed the transportation of goods worldwide by ensuring the safety and security of the cargo being transported. Nowadays, many major shipping companies primarily focus on handling containerized cargo.
In the early 1950s, the initial versions of container ships were introduced, primarily intended for transporting freight cars from goods trains. These vessels were equipped with crane and ramp systems, enabling efficient loading and unloading of the freight cars.
Over the years, advancements in technology have enabled the development of more practical methodologies. Nevertheless, crane systems continue to play a crucial role in the loading and unloading operations of containers on and off the vessels’ holds. Specialized lashing and cargo handling systems are utilized to secure the containers in their designated positions.
Container vessels are distinctive in that they are designed to accommodate massive cargo loads. The capacity of these vessels is measured in terms of Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs), with the largest container ships capable of carrying over 15,000-16,000 TEUs.
Due to their immense capacities, some of the largest ships in the world are container ships.