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Type of Marine Cargo: Containerized

Posted in Marine Cargo - 6 May 2019, 9:41 AM

What is Containerized Cargo?

Containerized cargo is a type of general cargo that is shipped as container load units. It is carried by certain ships, namely container carriers. Since the advent of containerization, the shipping time and expense has significantly decreased, ultimately increase the growth of international trade. Today, nearly 90% of non-bulk cargo is transported as containerized cargo.

Loading Process of Containerized Cargo

There are two types of container loadings, that is full container load (FCL) and less than container load (LCL). FCL container shipment has lower freight rates than an equal weight of bulk cargo shipment because all of the goods in one container is only delivered from one shipper to one consignee.

When the shipment is not large enough to fill the cargo container, the freight forwarder company use LCL shipment. The container is loaded with goods from different shippers and delivered by ship to intermediate ports. After that, it is distributed in different railway cars to each consignee. Largest container ships can carry up to 19,000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit).

Variety of Containerized Cargo

About 90% of cargo containers in the world are general purpose containers that are used for cartons, boxes, cases, pallets, drums, and other standard goods. Other than that, there are refrigerated containers for perishable goods and tank containers for liquid goods. There are also other containerized cargoes, such as organic products, gases, minerals, heavy machines, and barrels.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Containerized Cargo Shipping

Some advantages of containerized cargo shipment are:

  • Standardization, each container has a unique identification number and complies with ISO standard. That is why the safety and security of the goods can be assured.
  • Flexibility. There are different types of containers for particular cargos with unique characteristics. For example, perishable goods can be stored in temperature-controlled containers and organic products in ventilated containers.
  • Costs and Times. Containerized cargo shipment is 20 times less expensive and up to 3 weeks faster than regular shipment.
  • Resources. Containerized cargo shipment requires less labor and equipment than conventional shipment.
  • Security and Safety. The container can only be opened by the shippers and consignees. It will reduce the possibility of theft or external damage.

Unfortunately, there are also several drawbacks, such as:

  • Huge investment. Although containerized cargo shipment has relatively low expenses, it needs big capital investment to prepare the necessary infrastructures and equipment.
  • Extensive space use. Either the container is empty or loaded, it still takes a large amount of space.
  • Illicit trade. Some irresponsible individuals may use the container for illicit trade, such as drugs, weapons, or even illegal immigrations.

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