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:
- Handling at docks is made by machines; and ship's holds can receive containers.
- 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).
- Goods can be received more quickly.
- Packing can be done in supplier's factories. Containers needn't be opened except for Customs inspection until they reach the customer.
- Warehouses are unnecessary. Containers are waterproof and can be stacked by Straddle carriers outside in the rain.
- Refrigirated containers can be connected to electrical plant at the dockside and in the ship
Customs: la douane
stacked: empilé, gerbé
Straddle carriers: des cavaliers (engin de levage à quai)