Yumeko san
Yumeko san
Hi, Rookie! Do you know the most widely used method of transportation?
Hmm, Isn’t it air transport?
Yumeko san
Yumeko san
Unfortunately it’s not.
Maritime transport is often preferred due to lower shipping costs and the ability to transport larger quantities!
I see! There are still so many things I don’t know, huh?

Learning Points

  • Types of Cargo Ships
  • Container Ships Transport
  • Container Sizes and Types
  • Maritime Transport Flow

Types of Cargo Ships

In maritime transport, various types of ships are utilized.

Yumeko san
Yumeko san
The following are common cargo ships.

Conventional Ships

Conventional Ships are general cargo ships. It has cargo handling facilities, including cranes, for loading directly from barges or quaysides.

It has the advantage of being able to transport various types of cargo, primarily used for transporting the following items:

  • Large items
  • Heavy goods
  • Uniquely shaped cargo that does not fit into containers

RO-RO Ships (Roll on roll off ships)

RoRo Ships has a passage called a “ramp,” which transports self-propelled cargo such as:

  • Cars
  • Truck trailers
  • Motorcycles
  • Buses
  • Railroad cars
Yumeko san
Yumeko san
This contrasts LoLo ships (lift-on/lift-off).
What is that? The names may sound similar, but they refer to different things, right?
Yumeko san
Yumeko san
Right, unlike RoRo Ships, LoLo Ships utilize cranes for cargo handling. Conventional ships and container ships fall into this category!


Tankers are ships dedicated to transporting liquids.

It has large tanks within the hull, primarily used for transporting commodities such as:

  • Crude oil
  • Liquefied gas
  • Chemicals

Bulk Carriers

Bulk Carriers are dedicated vessels that carry unpacked cargo, such as:

  • Grain
  • Ore
  • Cement

Container Ships

Container ships are vessels designed for transporting containers. Container ships are critical players in maritime transport, alongside bulk carriers and tankers.

Unlike conventional ships, containers are loaded onto the ship using gantry cranes installed at ports. They can carry a wide range of goods that fit into a container, such as:

  • Everyday items
  • Industrial products
  • Machinery
  • Wood
  • Metals
  • Processed foods etc.,

Features of Container Ships

Container ships rank third in terms of cargo capacity, following bulk carriers and tankers.

Doesn’t sound like a big deal, though, right?
Yumeko san
Yumeko san
You shouldn’t underestimate container ships. In liner services, container ships are the most commonly used vessels.
Ops, sorry! What is the advantage of using container ships?

Container ships handle “containers” of standardized sizes, determined by international regulations, using machines called gantry cranes at the port.

Container ships have many merits:
  • Loading/unloading is relatively unaffected by weather.
  • It reduces packing time and effort
  • It increases transportation efficiency, leading to cost reduction

Yumeko san
Yumeko san
It is said like a “revolution”!

Container Types

There are several types of containers designed to accommodate different types of cargo.

Dry Container

The most major container is called a “dry container,” which can carry anything that fits inside it.

Reefer Container

A reefer container is a container that can be connected to a power source for temperature control.

Open Top Container

An open-top container is a dry container with its roof removed.

It is used for transporting tall cargo that doesn’t fit inside a standard container or items that are difficult to load through the container doors.

Flat Rack Container

A flat rack container is a dry container with its roof and sidewalls removed. It is used for transporting cargo that exceeds the width of the doors of a standard dry container.

Tank Container

Tank Container is designed in the standard container size. It is used for transporting liquids, and it offers the advantage of not only transportation but also direct storage.

Container Sizes

Among the above containers, three standard marine containers are used for container ships:

  • 20 Feet Container
  • 40 Feet Container
  • 40 High Cube Container

The sizes are set by an organization called the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

20 Feet Container

40 Feet Container

40 Feet High Cube Container


The Flow of Maritime Transport

Here, we will outline the process of maritime transport using container shipping methods.

Yumeko san
Yumeko san
That’s because container ships are the most widely used.

Two Types of Shipping Way

Container transport can be broadly categorized into two methods:

  • FCL (Full Container Load)
  • LCL (Less than Container Load)


FCL (Full Container Load) is a method where a shipper rents an entire container from the shipping company for transportation.

FCL Shipping Flow

1. A shipper stuffs goods into the container themselves (vanning)
2. A stuffed container is brought into Container Yard (CY)
3. Export clearance procedures are conducted in CY
4. Once the export permit is obtained from customs, the container is loaded onto the ship using gantry cranes

Yumeko san
Yumeko san
The trucks that transport containers are called drayage.


If the shipment does not occupy the whole container, it is more efficient to use LCL shipping.

In LCL (Less Than Container Load), multiple shippers share a single container, while in FCL (Full Container Load), a shipper rents an entire container.

LCL Shipping Flow

1. The goods are transported to a bonded warehouse (CFS)
2. Export clearance is conducted at the CFS
3. Once customs issue the export permit, the cargo is stuffed and consolidated into a single container along with other shipper’s goods
4. The stuffed container is transported to the CY
5. The container is loaded onto the ship using gantry cranes, similar to the FCL process.

Yumeko san
Yumeko san
CFS is an abbreviation of Container Freight Station.
How do you differentiate and use them?
Yumeko san
Yumeko san
Depending on the quantity, you can decide which one to use.


In maritime transport, container ships are most commonly used, but there are various types of vessels, including car carriers and bulk carriers.

The process, including export clearance, can vary depending on these factors, so let’s remember them on a case-by-case basis.

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Reinforce your understanding of this topic by working through the exercises. Attempting the exercises without referring to the material as much as possible is advisable.

IINO san
IINO san
The act of “remembering” helps it sink in your memory.