How are the cargo containers on cargo ships organized?

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I.e. how are the positions determined and who determines them? And are they labeled or mapped in some way? For example, row 10 number 8 is x, row 11 numbers 1-5 are y, etc.

Apologies if this is the wrong flair. I couldn’t scroll to access the options.

In: Engineering

4 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

They are ordered based on a number of criteria by specialists in an office, the instructions on where a specific container should go are then sent to the port and eventually to the crane operator.

Ships make stops to multiple ports and restacking containers is a waste of time and money. So the big criteria is to stack containers so they don’t have to be moved multiple times, as in don’t put a container for a port 2 stops away on top of a container for the next port. Weight is also a factor.

Then there may be special containers that have to go in certain places, refrigerated containers need to go near power sources. Most containers are 20ft or 40ft and oddly sized containers (like 53′ containers) need to go on the top, so they can hang over adjacent stacks.

Anonymous 0 Comments

They are registered with a unique identifier number and indexed to a row, column, layer via software in the ships master cargo manifest which is stored with the IMC and accessed by the unloading port as well as authorities. It’s nothing horribly complicated but the neat part is when they can stagger the arrival of trucks to pick up their cargo based on the order they’ll do the unloading. This is the kind of thing where software engineers earn their salary times 10k. The volume of cargo that moves through a port is simply incredible and the stack of 5 containers you might see sitting in the yard somewhere often gets eaten through and replaced at least once every day.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Yes they are all allotted a number based on bay (fore and aft position), row (port/starboard position) and tier (height).

Position is determined by a few things. There are physical constraints on stack heights. Dangerous goods need to be in certain places. Refrigerated containers need to be in certain places.

Overall weight placement needs to be considered to ensure the vessel is stable and relatively level.

And then the vessel wants to have the least number of container moves at any given port, which means trying to stack everything so that containers don’t have to be moved to get to other containers.

It’s done by software. Its a gigantic game of freecell.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I know they like to group all the ones that need to be kept cold together so the crew can monitor them.

As well they keep all the one that may be fire hazards together .

I would imagine they also like to keep the heavy ones low in the ship for balance.