Definition: Container ships


Carry containerised cargoes, sometimes referred to as "unitised" cargoes. There are a wide range of sizes of ships on a wide range of routes, typically following an established "hub and feeder" pattern. Very large ships (the largest of which now rival the largest category of tankers in terms of physical dimensions) carry boxes on trans-oceanic routes serving the main hub ports in the Far East, Europe, North America and Middle East. Smaller "feeder" ships then distribute the boxes from the main hub ports to local ports. The contents of the boxes are made up of "general cargo", and may include such diverse items as machinery, white goods, clothing, electronic equipment, and so on.

Tankers, bulk carriers and container ships make up by far the largest portion of the fleet and a significant proportion of the output from the shipbuilding industry.
First Marine International Limited, "Overview of the international commercial shipbuilding industry, Background report", disseminated on the Web site of Directorate-General "Enterprise and Industry" of the European Commission, May 2003

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