Guide to Types of Ships in the Maritime Industry 

Understanding the Various Types of Ships in the Maritime Industry

Different types of ships in the maritime industry are designed to cater to the vast shipping needs worldwide. Ships across the maritime industries are dedicated to shipping goods and passengers from one place to another and leverage cost-effective and hassle-free worldwide shipping. To cater to diverse shipping needs, manufacturers in the maritime industry are rigorously working to enhance ship structures and equip them with the latest technology. Autonomous shipping is the future trend in maritime shipping that will take over the industry. But before that, let us learn more about the various types of ships in the maritime industry. 

Benefits of using ships for transportation of goods. 

The advantages of using ships for international transportation are as follows- 

  1. Allows cost-effective shipping– Among the various modes of shipping, sea routes offer a fast and cost-effective mode for worldwide shipping. It becomes highly beneficial, especially for large and heavy goods or bulk commodities. Businesses can reduce the per-unit transportation cost as ships can transport large quantities of goods in a single voyage. 
  2. High storage capacity– The high TEU and FEU of ships help offer a significant cargo capacity, allowing ships to transport large volumes of goods in a single journey. Shippers can send LCL and FCL shipments in one go. Shipping containers are stacked and secured using containers lashing in place. This way, ships can accommodate a vast number of containers. 
  3. Global reach– Sea routes have a vast network and spread across the globe to connect countries for international trade. Maritime transportation helps in offering access to distant markets by connecting ports worldwide. This way, shippers can cost-effectively send goods from any part of the country to another. 
  4. Environment friendly– The rate of global warming is increasing at an alarming rate. Ships also contribute to the carbon emissions. However, in recent decades, maritime laws such as the EEXI and CII regulations have revolutionised the shipping industry by monitoring and minimising shipping emissions. Modern ships often employ technologies to minimise environmental impact and shipping carbon footprints. 
  5. Versatility– There are different types of ships in the maritime industry that help in carrying a wide range of goods, including containers, bulk cargo, liquid cargo, and even oversized items. Goods are placed into containers using various container packing methods and then secured onto ships for transit. Maritime resources help in container loading and unloading and facilitate shipping different types of cargo across the globe. 

Type of ships in the maritime industry 

Different categories of ships in the maritime industry are subdivided into various types. Let us learn more about the different types of ships. 

  1. Dry cargo ships – These are ships used in maritime to transport dry cargo stored inside shipping containers. 
  • Bulk carrier ships – These are large-capacity ships with a storage capacity of 100,000 tonnes and above. These maritime vessels are specifically designed for transporting bulk or dry cargo such as minerals, coal, grains, cement, or ore and do not require containerisation. All sorts of dry and loose cargo can be quickly loaded and unloaded to benefit the industries supplying raw materials and food. 
  • Containerships – These are maritime vessels that accommodate many shipping containers. The large capacity containerships are versatile and can adjust different types of shipping containers in one trip. They can transport goods ranging from food and electronics to clothes. The containerisation of goods takes place following container inspection and container loading. These ships are commonly used in the maritime industry for transportation of goods. 
  • General cargo ships – They are also known as break bulk carriers and transport a wide variety of goods that do not require specialised handling equipment. These can range from palletised cargo, drums, barrels, project cargo, irregular cargo and heavy equipment. The loading and unloading of containers can be done using cranes and straps for pulling out cargo boxes from the ship. 
  • Reefer vessels – Perishable or temperature-sensitive goods are packed into reefer containers for international shipping. However, large shipments of perishables are carried out using reefer ships. Goods such as dairy products, meat, pharmaceuticals, beverages, fruits and vegetables must be kept at a specific temperature to preserve their shelf life. Reefer ships are refrigerated ships smaller than containerships and used explicitly to store perishables in a controlled environment. 
  • RoRo ships – They are an acronym for roll-on roll-off ships. These ships have a built-in specialised ramp to roll the cargo on and off the ships. Wheeled cargo such as cars, automobiles, and oversized goods using trailers can be accommodated onto RoRo ships. It is versatile for transporting large quantities of wheeled cargo.  

2. Liquid cargo ships– These shipping vessels carry cargo in liquid form by loading them into large tanks for international transportation. The evolution of tanker ships has been fast-paced, and tanker ships can accommodate around 400,00 tons of liquid. Let us learn more about the different types of liquid cargo ships. 

  • Crude carriers– Some of the largest sailing ships globally are the very large crude carriers (VLCC) and ultra-large crude carriers (ULCC). These shipping vessels carry large volumes of crude oils from their production field to the refiners, turning them into petroleum products. These ships are designed considering the volatile nature of crude oils and benefit the global oil industries by offering a deadweight tonnage of approximately 300,00. 
  • Chemical carriers– The deadweight tonnage of these ships ranges from 5000-40,000 tons. These vessels mostly carry hazardous and volatile chemicals and can potentially regulate the inside temperature of the liquid cargo inside the ship. Chemical carriers are equipped with vents to release pressure from vapours inside the ship during cargo handling and transportation. 
  • Liquified gas carriers – These are oil tankers converted to transport liquid petroleum or natural gas. Liquefied gas carriers are designed in spherical shape to provide additional durability. They also have a double hull construction to avoid leaks or spills into the ocean during transportation. The LPG and LNG transportation requires extremely low temperatures, for which the ship is equipped with cryogenic tanks to maintain the liquid form of the cargo. 

   3.   Passenger ships– Cruise ships and ferries are generally used for transporting passengers from one country or port to another. These ships have been designed for recreational purposes and have evolved to be equipped with luxuries such as rooms, kitchens, shops, and more entertainment facilities. With time, the passenger ships are getting larger and accommodating thousands of people in one go.  

These are the different types of ships used in the maritime industry to transport various cargo and passengers from one place to another. 

LOTUS Containers is a global marketer of shipping container solutions in Germany and across the globe. We sell and lease different shipping containers such as reefer, 53ft intermodal, dry van, and flat rack containers.

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