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Refrigerated Food Cargo

When we go to the supermarket to buy fresh produce, most of us do not stop to consider where that produce has travelled from. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that less than half the apples sold in major British supermarkets originate from Britain; more likely they have come from European Union states, or even as far a field as New Zealand.

Such fragile and time sensitive cargoes require special transportation that will keep goods at the right temperature to maintain freshness, run to strict schedules to ensure that the produce reaches its final destination in the optimum condition. To meet these demands, special refrigerated cargo ships house temperature-controlled containers suitable for the safe carriage of chilled or frozen cargoes, referred to reefer containers.

A wide range of commodities are shipped under refrigeration, including: fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh and frozen meats, poultry, and seafood, dairy products and eggs, fresh juices and frozen concentrates, and live plants and flowers.

Special Purpose Cargo

There are many different types of cargoes shipped around the world, some more unusual than others. While containers, crude oil and dry bulk get the most attention, other cargoes that fall outside of these categories are just as important to daily life.

Over-sized goods, such as a non-motorised barges or road sections, are one such cargo, while heavy cargoes, such as industrial generators and reactors, also require special treatment. Another specialist cargo is livestock, which needs to be transported in comfortable surroundings so that the cattle or sheep reach their final destination undistressed and in optimum condition.

Whatever the specialist cargo, one thing is for sure; the ships that carry them will be specially designed to serve that purpose. To counteract the loading and discharging of heavy items, heavy-lift ships might use ballast to counterbalance the weight, while others use hydraulic feet to clamp on to the quay, while ships designed to carry livestock need climate control, feed dispensers, watering equipment and equipment for the removal of manure, as well as large quantities of bedding and food.


It is not just commodities that move from A to B by ship: many of us have experienced life at sea as a cargo, simply by taking a cross-Channel ferry from Dover to Calais. With the many safety and quality considerations necessary for carrying passengers, a cargo of people is in fact not so different to the many others of cargoes carried.

Passenger ships need to cater for the demands of people, be that with the provisions of seating, refreshments, entertainment and/or sleeping facilities. For passenger ships on longer journeys, a huge amount of food and fresh water stores need to be on board and there must be proper facilities for the storage of waste water and the massive amount of rubbish generated.

These ships vary greatly in size and can range from small foot passenger ferries to cross rivers, to large luxury ocean-going cruise liners carrying more than 2,500 passengers. Some may have the means to transport vehicles as well as passengers, offering crossings for cars and caravans, as well as freight on trucks

Unitised Cargo

Manufactured products and perishable goods come in a variety of shapes and sizes, often with considerable storage constraints. Consequently, these cargoes need to be treated very differently to free-flowing dry bulk cargoes, like grain.

Imagine having to individually move the millions of computers and computer parts transported around the world every year: it would be a logistical nightmare. Instead, these ‘units’ are packaged together as unitised cargo before transportation. While the terms unitised and containerised are often used interchangeably, strictly speaking unitised, as a cargo type, includes containers as well as a number of other modes of transportation, such as pallets, barges, closed wagons, goods trailers and trucks.

Unitised cargoes can be very diverse, covering forest products, metals and metal goods, machines, electronics, food chemicals, raw materials, and investment and consumer goods, among others.


Date: 2016-01-03; view: 866

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