a container ship

A container ship.

Nowadays more and more goods are carried in large containers all over the world.

Containers are steel boxes of different sizes (usually 8 by 8 by 20 or 40 feet - 2.4 by 2.4 by 5.9 or 12 metres). The advantages are:

  1. Handling at docks is made by machines; and ship's holds can receive containers.
  2. Very few stevedores are needed. A container ship takes 12 to 15 men, three to four days to load and unload (instead of a hundred men and 12 to 15 days of loading and unloading).
  3. Goods can be received more quickly.
  4. Packing can be done in supplier's factories. Containers needn't be opened except for Customs inspection until they reach the customer.
  5. Warehouses are unnecessary. Containers are waterproof and can be stacked by Straddle carriers outside in the rain.
  6. Refrigirated containers can be connected to electrical plant at the dockside and in the ship


steel: acier

Handling: manutention

holds: cales

stevedores: manutentionaires

Customs: la douane

Warehouses: l'entrepôt

stacked: empilé, gerbé

Straddle carriers: des cavaliers (engin de levage à quai)