Cargo ships and the Maritime Industry run the world, but how ?

The maritime industry is filled with various types of sea freight cargo, and with that, there are a ‘boatload’ of different kinds of cargo ships and modes of shipping based on the cargoes available


Container Vessels
currently the most common and popular mode of transport used for carrying 20′, 40′ and 45′ containers. These come in various capacities ranging from about 85 teus (twenty equivalent units) to 15,000+ teus

Bulk Vessels
Used for the carriage of bulk commodities like wheat, Sulphur, iron ore, coal

Breakbulk Vessels
Used for the carriage of various kinds of cargoes :
– bagged cargo (cement, sugar)
– palletized cargo (paint, chemicals)
– timber

Ro-Ro (Roll On / Roll Off) Vessels 
Used for the carriage of wheeled cargo like cars, buses, trucks, excavators.

These vessels can also carry some project cargoes as long as these are loaded on mafi trailers or any other wheeled modes
Can further be classified as PCC (Pure Car Carriers) & PCTC (Pure Car & Truck Carriers)

Multi-purpose Vessels
Used for the carriage of a combination of above cargoes.

Very versatile, popular and useful vessels specially along certain routes which require self-geared vessels and do not have shore handling facilities

Tanker Vessels 
Used for the carriage of various liquid cargoes like oil, chemicals

Crude Carriers 
Used for the carriage of crude oil
– further classified as  VLCC (Very large Crude Carriers) and ULCC (Ultra large Crude Carriers)

LNG Carriers
Used for the carriage of Liquified Natural Gas

Reefer Vessel
Used for the carriage of frozen cargoes or temperature controlled cargoes like fruits, meat, fish


Cargo ships are also classified under different categories based on their size, dimension and weight

The most common classifications (at the time of this post) are :

  • Handy size
    • ships weighing between 28,000-40,000 DWT
  • Handymax
    • ships weighing between 40,000-50,000 DWT
  • Panamax
    • the largest size of ship which can pass through the Panama Canal – DWT of between 60,000 to 80,000 tons
  • Aframax
    • generally tankers weighing between 75,000 and 115,000 DWT
  • Suezmax
    • the largest size of ship which can pass through the Suez Canal – DWT of around 150,000 tons
  • Malaccamax
    • the largest size of ship which can navigate through the Malacca Straits – would have a DWT of ideally between 280000 to 300,000 tons in terms of container ships
  • Capesize
    • vessels larger than Panamax and Suezmax, which cannot pass through either the Panama Canal or Suez Canal and has to pass through the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn – above 150,000 long tons in DWT
  • VLCC (Very Large Crude Carrier)
    • supertankers between 150,000 and 320,000 DWT
  • ULCC (Ultra Large Crude Carrier)
    • supertankers between 320,000 and 550,000 DWT
  • Seawaymax
    • the largest size of ship that can fit through the canal locks of the St. Lawrence Seaway – has a DWT of between 10,000 to 60,000 tons