Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

Despite being piled, why do ship containers not fall easily?

By b0oua Apr 3, 2024

There is a lot more debris aboard cargo ships and containers than you may imagine, and there are various ways that can be used to prevent containers from dropping. Despite the fact that nothing is perfect

The classic image of a massive cargo ship loaded with containers is probably something that we are all familiar with, whether it comes from the media, entertainment, social networks, or video games. A vessel that transports a wide variety of goods through conditions as harsh as the seas and oceans, with their tremendous waves, storms, and other natural whims and fancies. And despite everything that has happened, the containers have not fallen. On the other hand, they don’t typically do so.

What is the history of containers? At the moment, ninety percent of everything that is transported anywhere in the world is transported by sea in containers; however, this was not always the case. Prior to the arrival of containers, loads were transported in fractions, which resulted in increased handling, expenditures, and delays. To make matters even more difficult, the containers that were already in place were not standard. mostly due to the fact that standardization is paramount.

It is possible that we believe that it is something old, that containers are something that dates back many years, but this is not the case. During World War II, the United States of America pioneered the use of containers for the transportation of various goods, including weapons, explosives, and other items. Before 1956, they were utilized for rail transportation in Great Britain throughout the 18th century; however, it was not until 1956 that we witnessed the birth of the containers that we are familiar with today.

Malcolm McLean, a pioneering figure. McLean, who was born in North Carolina on November 14, 1913, was the businessman who became responsible for the development of the contemporary intermodal shipping container. For the most part, McLean came to the conclusion that if we utilized containers that had conventional dimensions and requirements, things would be simpler. In point of fact, if there were a standard size, loading and unloading might be done in a manner that was mostly automated.

The patent. A container that was 33 feet long, eight feet high, and 2.4 meters wide (about 10 meters by 2.4 meters by 2.4 meters) was patented by good old McLean. The length of the container was later raised to 35 feet. There was a significant reduction in costs as a result of this. The cost of loading one ton of cargo onto a ship was $5.86 in the year 1956. The price was brought down to sixteen cents as a result of his invention. We now have conventional containers that are 20 and 40 feet in length, and they come in a variety of shapes thanks to his invention.

Despite the fact that they are available in a variety of sizes, the majority of containers around the world have a conventional length of twenty or forty feet. The fact of the matter is that the use of containers did not start to become widespread until 1956, despite the fact that it is true that there were various attempts to standardize containers prior to McLean. Those who are interested can learn that the international standard is set by ISO 668:2020, and yes, despite the fact that Different measures can be found all throughout the world, despite the fact that there is a standard.

The components that make into standardization. Because the measurements of all containers are (for the most part) identical, we are able to create and implement mechanisms that allow us to stack them. When we examine a container, we will notice that there are holes in each of the four corners of the container. The purpose of these holes is to allow for the stacking of containers on top of one another while simultaneously allowing the lowest container to be attached to the structure of the boat. The term “twistlock” refers to the device that is utilized to secure one container to another.

Lock and twist. The twistlock, which is also known as a twist lock, is a connector mechanism that is standardized and is used for stacking containers. Each container is constructed with eight sections that are welded at the corners with holes. This method is standardized (ISO 1161:2016) and operates in the following manner. It is the female component that they are.

For the purpose of locking the system, the twistlock, which is the male component, is put into the hole and then rotated through a full 90 degrees. The upper container is then hooked to the lower one, which is then linked to a twistlock on the surface of another container or the base of the boat or truck. This process is repeated until the complete set of containers is attached. On the other hand, this is just the beginning.

Following the placement of the stacks of containers, these stacks are then fastened to the ground using bars. This is done in order to reduce the likelihood of the containers collapsing to the edges of the stacks.

Inside, there is a freighter. Therefore, we are in possession of the containers, and we are aware of how to stack them on top of one another. When we get them aboard the boat, how do we make sure that they fit correctly and that we make the most of the space? As it turns out, the interiors of freighters are almost entirely devoid of any solid material.

To ensure that the containers are able to stack neatly on top of one another and remain in place, the interior has been partitioned into bays that are equipped with rails on their walls. The fact of the matter is that there are a great number of containers underground, despite the fact that we often observe containers that protrude. Beginning with the filling of the cellar, the lid is then installed, and further items are then placed on top of the lid.

It is not a game for them to play. There are a number of rules that have been established, and you can find them in the CSS (Code of Safe Practice for Cargo Stowage and Securing, PDF). Some of the more straightforward rules include the fact that the heaviest containers should be placed on the bottom, and that there should never be a single container that is twenty feet in length placed underneath a container that is forty feet in length for obvious reasons. Taking these precautions guarantees, to a significant degree, that the containers will be able to resist the unpredictable conditions of marine transportation.

Likewise, they are prone to falling. Undoubtedly, they will fall. In point of fact, if you seek for photographs of containers that have fallen, you will notice that there is almost never just one of them, but rather that there are typically several of them stacked together because of the twistlocks.

There were 1,566 containers that were lost at sea every year between the years 2008 and 2022, as stated in the study titled “Container Lost at Sea – 2023 Update” that was published by the World Shipping Council. Things went from bad to worse between the years 2020 and 2022, with an annual total of 2,301 containers. In all honesty, this is a relatively low number when we consider that in the year 2021 alone, 164 million containers were transferred. This is just one piece of information.

By b0oua

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