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Logistics Glossary Types of Container Ships and Bulk Carriers

Registration dateNOV 02, 2021

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  1. 1)Container Ship1)Container Ship
    1. Container ShipContainer Ship
      ① Definition of Container Ship

      Container ship refers to a ship with special structure specialized in carrying containers.

      First put out to sea in the United States, the container ship has become the major means of transportation in the global ocean transport. Container ship that transports cargos in containers has advantage in efficiency of loading and unloading cargos and has been developed in accordance with the trend in the industry in general, for the sake of reducing the time and cost of loading and unloading. In addition, container ship is faster than other types of ships because it handles cargos that require relatively fast shipping.

    2. ② Types of Container Ships by Loading Form
      Full Container Ship, Semi Container Ship Full Container Ship, Semi Container Ship
      1. 2-1) Full-Container Ship

        Special ship that transports container cargos only.


      2. 2-2) Semi-Container Ship

        As the ship that transports both container cargo and general cargo, it has a crane on board to handle general cargos, unlike the full-container ship.

    3. ③ Types of Container Ships by Loading Method
      1. 3-1) LO/LO(Lift-on/Lift-off) Ship
        LO/LO Ship LO/LO Ship

        It refers to the container ship that load and unload containers with the container dock crane or on-board crane. LO/LO ship is a full-container ship and has a special internal structure in which T-shaped or L-shaped frame called cell guide is deployed within the cargo hold, and containers are vertically stacked in accordance with the cell guide. In other words, 4 guide rails are placed in accordance with the width and length of containers to allow the containers to be stored in the cargo hold more easily.


      2. 3-2) RO/RO(Roll-on/Roll-off) Ship
        RO/RO Ship RO/RO Ship

        A ship that loads and unloads cargos through the slope connecting the ship and dock with mobile vehicle or trailer in the Ro-Ro(roll on/roll off) manner.
        Usually, the method moving containers using the crane on the dock is called Lo-Lo(Lift-on/Lift-off) method. Ro-Ro method has less loading efficiency as it requires 3~5 times more empty space than the Lo-Lo method, but it is specialized in special cargos with wheels, like automobile. In addition, it has excellence in the safety of cargos and the theft prevention because the unloading time is reduced and the moving process become shorter. Japan where automobile industry is developed and North European countries which are traditional ocean transport powers have large market share in the Ro-Ro ship construction.


      3. 3-3) LASH(Lighter Aboard Ship) Ship
        LASH Ship LASH Ship

        LASH ship is a specially constructed ship in accordance with the characteristics of the local harbor that loads and unloads the barge on which cargos are loaded with on-board crane. In other words, it is a ship that allows for loading and unloading in the port without harbor facility by loading cargos on the barge and loading or unloading the barge itself. Recently, this kind of ship is rarely used in international transports.

  2. 2)Bulk carrier2)Bulk Carrier
    1. Bulk carrierBulk carrier
      ① Definition of Bulk Carrier

      Bulk carrier refers to the vessel exclusively for cargo transportation that can load unpacked bulk cargo.

      Generally, unpacked cargos like grains and ores are called bulk cargos, and the bulk carrier is a vessel specialized in transporting such cargos. For examples of bulk cargos, there are hardwood, cement, iron ore, and grain.

      While general ships separate cargos with the middle deck to prevent cargos from being pressed, bulk carrier do not have such a partition and has a cargo hold. Hence, it has the advantage that transportation service cost become cheaper. Because demands for bulk carriers are not constant, it is operated as a tramp liner that sails in accordance with a specific schedule rather than regular liners that sails in accordance with predetermined schedule. Also, it is constructed in relatively more countries than other kinds of ships because it does not require special technologies for the construction. Like the container ship, bulk carrier tends to become larger to reduce the prime cost.

    2. ② Types of Bulk Carriers by Cargo
      1. 2-1) Dry cargo : Solid cargos like grains, ore, and coal
        Dry cargoDry cargo
      2. 2-2) Liquid cargo : Liquid or semiliquid cargo like crude oil, gasoline, natural gas, and chemical products
        Liquid cargoLiquid cargo
    3. ③ Types of Bulk Carriers by Scale

      Bulk carriers are classified depending on the DWT (Dead Weight Tonnage).
      DWT is commercially most important tonnage used for the standard in vessel trade and calculating the charterage because it indicates the maximum loading capacity of a freighter.

      Types of Bulk Carriers by Scale Types of Bulk Carriers by Scale
      1. 3-1) Handy : 10~40k DWT

        Freighter with size handy to handle cargos that can freely enter and leave every major port around the world without limitation. This is the vessel type whose chartering is most actively transacted in the global ocean transportation market.


      2. 3-2) Handymax : 40~55k DWT

        Vessel with size between that of Panamax and Handy, which is constructed based on the concept of entering every port around the world.
        Vessel of this size shall be able to sail in relatively shallow water level in order to operate in ports around the world and is usually equipped with loading equipment like a crane to allow for loading and unloading in the ports where harbor facility is scarce. Its characteristics are that it has low risk in the operation and proper return rate and overall operation capability.


      3. 3-3) Supramax : 50~60k DWT

        Vessel constructed in the 2000s that can enter ports where Handymax class enters while increasing the cargo loading capacity.


      4. 3-4) Panamax : 60~100k DWT

        It refers to the freighter of the largest size that can pass through the Panama Canal.
        Vessel of 80~100k DWT that can load and unload at Kamsar Port (the largest coal terminal), Equatorial Guinea, Africa is subclassified as “Kamsarmax.”


      5. 3-5) Capemax : 100~180k DWT

        Vessels too large to pass through the Suez Canal that should detour to the Cape of Good Hope located to the south of Capetown, South Africa when they sail between the Far East and Europe are called cape size, named after the name of the place.
        It also refers to the maximum size of the vessel that can enter Richard Bay, a coal terminal in South Africa.


      6. 3-6) Supersize Bulk Carrier VLOC(Very Large Ore Carrier) : 180~200k DWT

        It is a supersize freighter that can load 180~200k tons of cargos.


      7. 3-7) ChinaMax : 400k DWT or over

        It refers to the largest vessel size that can enter Chinese and Brazilian harbors.
        It is a vessel that Vale, a Brazilian mining corporation, has ordered to transport iron ores to China. Since then, vessels of that size is generally called ChinaMax class.