General information about Freighter SHIPS

Since the 1960s the transport of containers has continued to grow. A cargo ship or freighter is any type of vessel that carries cargo, goods, and materials from one port to another. Thousands of freighter carriers sail on the High Seas each day/month and year; they handle the bulk of the International trade. Usually they are specially designed for the task, being equipped with cranes and other mechanisms to load and unload, and come in all sizes. They are almost always built of welded steel, and with some exceptions generally have a life expectancy of 25 to 30 years before being scrapped.

Container vessels have grown in size from a capacity of 1500 TEU (Twenty feet equivalent unit) in 1966 to approximately 13300 TEU until 2008. The possible cargo is containers (dry, liquid and reefer containers)
Characteristics of the Container Carriers are:
- Maximum amount of TEUs or FEUs (Forty feet equivalent unit)
- Amount of TEUs and FEUs below the weather deck along with their heights.
- Number of container tiers
- Presence of cargo gear
- Open or closed ship.

Container vessels are also classified on the basis of the passage criteria:
- Panamax ships. Ships with a width less than 32.3 meters. They have the maximum width with which they can still pass the locks in the Panama Canal.
- Post Panamax Ships. These ships are too large to pass through the Panama canal. Since 1988 container vessels have been built with widths exceeding 32.3 meters.
- Suezmax ships have maximum draft of 19 meters, which allows them to use the Suez Canal. The Suez Canal is currently being deepened, which means that the Suez-Max size will be larger in future.

Container feeders are small or medium sized vessels starting at 200 TEUs. They are specialized in the transport of containers from small ports, the feeder ports, to large ports or main ports and vice versa or for use in services which are not profitable for the larger container vessels. The feeders are sometimes equipped with cargo gear. Often, multipurpose ships are employed as container feeders.

Roll-on/Roll-off vessels:
They facilitate the transport of mobile cargo. Ro-Ro vessels have continuous decks over the entire length of the ship.

Refrigerated ships (Reefers) are ships which have refrigerated holds to transport fruit or vegetables or other frozen cargo. Modern reefers increasingly carry cargo in containers rather than on pallets. They have a built in refrigerated system, which can be plugged in to the ships electricity system.

Multipurpose ships can carry many types of cargo – containers, general cargo, dry bulk cargo such as grain, cars, heavy items. They are divided into ships with cargo gear or without cargo gear or coastal liners. A multipurpose vessel can also be provided with one or more ramps on the side of the ship. Loading and discharging can be carried out over these ramps by forklifts which is a faster way and less dependent on the weather conditions.

Bulk Carriers are specially designed ships that carry loose cargo in bulks. There are three types of bulk carriers:
- Handy size – approximately 30,000 tons deadweight often with their own cargo gear. Carry usually precious ore, sand, scrap, clay,grain or forest products
- Panamax, approximately 80,000 tons deadweight seldom carry gear, Cargo is mainly ore or grain.
- Capesize are approximately 160,000 tons deadweight or over with no cargo gear. Cargo ore, coal, etc…