Experts unquestionably consider maritime transport to be one of the most efficient modern methods of moving goods over long distances. Compared to its competitors, transport by road, rail or air, shipping by sea is generally much less expensive. The main advantage of this shipping method is that it does not require any special infrastructure, which is especially advantageous when transporting bulky goods.
Over thousands of years of shipping practice, a whole arsenal of specialised vessels has been developed to carry it out. Water transport carries a wide range of cargoes of all kinds. It includes grain, oil products, all kinds of machinery, foodstuffs, etc., including bulky ones. Sea freight requires an extensive network of special containers with strong bindings and other necessary facilities and conditions depending on the type, peculiarity of the cargo. In order to ensure all kinds of sea transportations, ships are used in the form of: rolker - specially equipped ships for target transportation of large-sized cargoes, machinery, wagons, etc., for which the use of pallets, horizontal, vertical options of cargo loading and unloading are widely practiced; bulk carriers - ships which during transportation are filled with coal, sand, grain, crushed stone and other loose cargoes.
These vessels are built as huge tanks, divided into self-contained compartments that can be sealed with covers; ferries, a type of roll-on roll-off ferry.
- Ferries are generally built as a series of tiers, the lower tiers being designed specifically for the transport of goods, while the upper tiers can also be used for the carriage, service of passengers. On ferries, all loading operations are carried out in a horizontal format;
- Tankers, which are nowadays the most popular cargo ships for transporting oil, petroleum products, liquefied gas and other liquid cargoes. The cargoes are then pumped into the tankers using high-powered pumps. Tankers are also used to transport bulk goods; container ships carry a variety of special containers for the exclusive transport of goods. These containers are securely fastened and there are tried-and-true techniques for loading them, placing them on deck;
- Dry cargo carriers are vessels designed to transport meat, fish, other foodstuffs, as well as dry cargo and various non-standard equipment. The advantage of dry cargo ships is that they can load and unload goods autonomously in any port, on their own.
Sea transport of goods in containers necessarily takes into account their specifics. For this purpose, the industry produces different variants of containers differing in size and type. The most common are standard containers, also known as "dry" containers. Complexes of 20-foot containers are most commonly used for small heavy cargoes, and 40-foot containers, or as they are also called "high", are designed for voluminous but lightweight cargoes. In addition, there are other types of special cargo containers:
- Open-roof containers, which are loaded from above;
- Refrigerated containers intended for delivery of food and other cargo that require a special temperature regime;
- tank containers for the transport of gaseous or liquid media; open platforms for the transport of oversized cargo.
Depending on the nuances of transport, there are particularities in the organisation of maritime transport, which as a rule are necessarily met in practice. There are also centralised tariffs for the cost of transport.
Packing Rules Based on many years of practice, a set of packing rules has been developed for the packaging of goods for maritime transport. Their implementation ensures maximum safety of the goods regardless of weather conditions and duration of transport. Particularly stringent conditions are imposed on packaging:
- each piece of cargo must have a wooden crate, fastened, if necessary, with metal tape;
- the entire surface of the crate created for the transport of the goods must be covered with polyethylene film;
- the goods shall be placed on pallets surrounded by slats; each box shall be additionally reinforced with lumber; the boxes with the goods shall be covered with tarpaulins to protect them from precipitation and dampness;
- Containers must be securely fastened when travelling by sea, etc.