A maritime container terminal is a facility where containers transported by ocean vessels are transferred to other modes of transportation, like trucks, trains, or canal barges. At the terminal, cargo containers are exchanged between different transport vehicles for onward shipping.
The transshipment of goods can take place between ships and land vehicles (Ex: trains or trucks), in which case we call the terminal a maritime terminal. It can also occur between land vehicles, like trains and trucks. In this instance, we can define such a terminal as an inland terminal.
Container terminals located near harbors or major cities often form part of a larger port. We can find the biggest maritime container terminals next to large harbors, while those serving inland areas tend to be close to big cities with good rail links to the maritime terminals.
What is a Maritime Container?
A container vessel (ship) or a maritime vessel is a type of vessel that is ideal for carrying large amounts of cargo packed into various containers. We use the term containerization for this shipping method as containers play a huge role in the transportation of goods.
Maritime container services are a powerful way of transporting goods, making it possible to move large amounts of cargo and having a huge impact on global trade.
As the market demand rises, maritime container vessels are becoming bigger to increase their cargo-carrying capacity and improve their operating efficiency and environmental processes. This enables them to better meet the needs of liner services.
Container ships today can hold more than twelve times as much cargo as they could in 1968. They have become more sophisticated and use less fuel than before.
Where are Shipping Containers Made?
Having an understanding of where shipping containers come from and how they are made can help you make the best use of them. This knowledge can also assist in properly maintaining the container and extending its lifespan.
Whether you are using it for storage, building something unique, or transporting items, your shipping container likely has an interesting tale behind its journey from China to you as a ‘one-trip’ container.
Around 56% of dry marine containers used around the world are manufactured in China including:
- It is possible to produce sea units at a low cost due to the abundance of raw materials available.
- China’s ports are some of the most active in the world, shipping goods around the globe. It is both sensible and cost-effective to manufacture the units close to these ports.
Types of Maritime Container Vessels
Container vessels can be classified in many different ways.
Lift-on/Load-off Container Ships
Geared container vessels, known as Lift-on/Load-off vessels, are capable of loading and unloading cargo without the need for port cranes, as they feature their own crane for cargo operations.
ROCON Container Ships
ROCONs are ships that can transport both roll-on/roll-off cargo and containers. The containers can be placed either on the deck of the ship or in a dedicated container hold.
Container Ships come in different sizes.
Containers for maritime transport are usually 20 or 40 feet in length, although exceptions can be made for 10-foot containers such as Dry Van containers. These dimensions have been standardized by the ISO668 and 1496 standards.
The main types of maritime container ships can be categorized by size.
- The first Panamax-size vessels appeared in 1980.
- The capacity of these vessels was approximately 4,000-5,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).
- The maximum length, breadth, and draught of their ships allowed them to pass through the Panama Canal, which has a maximum length of 294.1m, a breadth of 32.3m, and a draught of 12m.
- The launch of Regina Mærsk in 1996 spurred the development of a new type of container ship, the ‘Post-Panamax’ which did not rely on the Panama Canal for transportation. This vessel had an official capacity of 6400 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units).
- Post-Panamax ships have seen tremendous growth in recent years and now makeup nearly 30% of the world’s fleet.
- Subversive sizes of vessels were introduced to the maritime container shipping market, introducing new ideas and methods.
- Cellular container vessels were introduced as a cost-saving measure for ship owners. The cell guides, which ran from the bottom of the hold-up several tiers, eliminated the need for lashing materials and improved loading/unloading speed while decreasing the shifting of containers.
- Vessels called “Suezmax” were created to fit the size of the Suez Canal. These ships are nearly as large as the canal itself.
- Suezmax vessels have a capacity of around 12000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), with a width of 50-57 meters and a depth between 14.4 and 16.4 meters.
- Ultra-large container vessels have a capacity of 18000 TEU and are 60m wide, with a maximum draught of 21m.
- These vessels are too large to fit through the Suez canal, so they are referred to as Post Suezmax.
Post – Malacamax
- This size replicates the deepest draft allowed in the Malacca Strait, which is 21m.
- The port authorities must be prepared for vessel of this size to enter the Ports. Currently, only two ports, Singapore and Rotterdam, are capable of accommodating it.
The Distance Covered by maritime container Ships
- Ships used for short routes only travel up to 500 nautical miles along the coast.
- The maximum capacity of these vessels is 1500TEU.
- The use of mother ships mainly takes place in international trade.
- The size of these vessels is much larger than that of feeders.
Design of Container Ships
The design of the accompanying maritime container vessel is based on conventional Bulk Carriers and General cargo ships. It consists of lower decks, an engine room, ballast, and fuel tanks. The cargo holds are where the containers are stored below the deck.
The holds of maritime container vessels are fitted with cell guides, and hatch covers that help the crane operator safely slide the maritime container inside. Damage to the cell guides can be hazardous, so it is important to keep them in good condition. Larger vessels typically have cargo cranes for loading, while smaller vessels do not require them. Those with cranes are called ‘geared’ maritime container vessels, and those without are called ‘gearless’ maritime container vessels.
Container vessels often use geared systems for self-loading and unloading at ports with low cargo volumes. They have specialized securing systems for holding maritime containers in place. Lift-away types of Hatch covers are usually installed to increase the ship’s carrying capacity and prevent water from entering the maritime container, both on deck and under deck. After each loading/unloading operation, these hatch covers must be closed before the vessel can depart a port.
The maritime container on a container ship are separated into distinct holds, making it easier to organize them.
- Container ships are a general term for many types of vessels. Each container ship is unique and has its own purpose, making them different from each other.
- Container ships designed to fit through the Panama Canal are known as Panamax vessels. These ships can hold up to 5,000 TEU and measure just over 290 meters in length.
- Small Feeder vessels are the smallest type of container ships, capable of carrying up to 1000 TEUs. An upgraded version of this type called ‘Feedermax’ can carry up to 3000 TEUs, while the ‘Feeder’ type can carry 2000 TEUs.
Container ships are the main form of cargo transportation across the world, and the demand for more efficient maritime cargo transport continues to rise. As a result, there have been many improvements in maritime container ships and this is expected to continue in the future.
Types of Storage maritime containers
- ISO containers, also known as intermodal containers, are used to transport goods. These containers are designed to be moved by multiple transportation methods, such as truck and rail or rail and ship.
- Maritime freight containers meet the standards set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for their manufacture.
- ISO is an international organization based in Geneva, Switzerland that creates standards. ISO containers come in various sizes and shapes, such as dry (or cube), insulated, flat rack (or platform), open-top, refrigerated, and tank. Dry ISO containers are all-purpose cargo boxes used for shipping goods.
- ISO containers are built in standard sizes. They have a width of 8 feet, heights of 8 feet 6 inches and 9 feet 6 inches, and common lengths of 20 feet and 40 feet.
- The use of 45-foot containers has seen a significant increase.
Types of Containers Based on Design
- A flat rack container
- Dry Van Box Shipping Container
- Tunnel maritime container
- Side-Opening Container
- Container in the shape of cylinder
- A container that keeps things warm.
- An Open Top Container
- A container that is kept cold
What steps has the IMO taken to prevent containers from being lost or damaged?
IMO has introduced a new requirement to check the total weight of packed containers for transport over sea and land. The IMO, ILO, and UNECE have developed a non-mandatory global code of practice for handling and packing cargo units. This can be accessed online in the form of the 2014 IMO/ILO/UNECE Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTU Code).
Why shipping container shortage, At the request of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has updated its ISO 1161 and ISO 3874 standards. These standards cover specifications for corner fittings and handling and securing of freight containers, respectively. The revisions take into account new container ships with a capacity greater than 18,000 TEU and design features for automatic twist locks.
The demand for more efficient ways to transport cargo has led to advancements in maritime container ships. This trend is expected to continue.
Do you know why?
That is because container vessels make up the majority of cargo transported around the world. It is possible to achieve better maritime cargo transportation with these developments.
Container ships will face numerous obstacles in the coming days, but the maritime container shipping industry will remain strong. These challenges include alterations to existing regulations, more rigorous environmental regulations, a competitive market, the implementation of new technologies, and increased marine traffic due to increased carrying capacity of vessels.