Ship Shape

Not all types of freighters carry passengers–for instance those which carry dangerous cargos, such as tankers do not. Those freighters that do carry passengers include the following.

Container Ships

The most usual way to send goods by sea these days is on a container ship or box ship. The containers themselves are manufactured to a worldwide standard of twenty foot and forty foot in length and eight foot in height, making them very quick and efficient to load and unload. This means that container ships tend to spend less time in port than traditional freighters. Container ship capacity is described in TEUs (twenty foot equivalent units)–thus a vessel capable of carrying 2,000 forty foot containers would be described as having a capacity of 4,000 TEUs. An infinite variety of goods is carried in containers.


One type of general cargo ship is the Reefer, such as the banana boat (though the traditional carriers, Fyffes and Geest, no longer take passengers). Reefers carry perishable goods in specially ventilated holds to keep the cargo at an evenly cool temperature. Refrigerated containers which plug in to the electrical system on container ships are also known as reefers.

Multipurpose Vessels

As their name suggests, these ships combine the features of general cargo and container ships with rollonrolloff facilities.


Roll-On Roll-Off ships are unlovely looking vessels (though comfortable inside) which are like giant car ferries, transporting thousands of vehicles which are loaded by being driven on board via a stern ramp.

Bulk Carriers

Carrying loose cargo, such as coal, phosphates, grain, and mineral ores, these ships tend to be employed in a “tramp” service, not having an established route, but following the delivery requirements of the cargo they are carrying.

Frequently asked Questions