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Encyclopedia of Marine and Energy Technology

Car carriers


Vessels specially designed for efficient transport of cars (pure car carriers), or variety of cars, trucks, tractors and buses (pure car/truck carriers). Cargo access/transfer equipment of typical car carrier consists of a stern quarter ramp, side ramps, internal ramps with covers and hoistable decks. Vehicles drive directly into the ship and via internal ramp system to various decks.

Longhaul car exports were originally handled by bulk carriers fitted with portable or hinge-away car platforms and loading/discharge performed by ship derricks or cranes. But massive rise in demand for global vehicle movements dictated the creation of purposedesigned multi-deck pure car carriers (PCCs) exploiting ro-ro cargo handling system. This type of vessels was developed in the 1950s by Wallenius Line, the pioneer in the carriage of vehicles by sea. RIGOLETTO and TRAVIATA, both delivered in 1955, were the first ships specially designed to carry cars by adding extra decks. ANIARA was Wallenius Line first car carrying ro-ro. Delivered in 1963 it featured a bow door for the first time. Tonnage with capacity for over 6000 cars on 12 decks emerged, along with pure car/truck carrier (PCTC) designs offering rolling freight flexibility for many vehicle types: not just cars but trucks, knock-down car units, buses, containers, agricultural and construction machinery, and heavy project cargoes. The success of this new breed of ship and the growth of the trades they serve owe much to the efficiency of ro-ro access/transfer installations in loading, stowing and discharging operations. A typical outfit is based on a stern quarter ramp/door; side ramps/doors and internal hoistable decks and the major players in cargo handling equipment are MacGREGOR and TTS.

The largest deep-sea car carriers in service can carry up to 8000 car equivalent units (CEU).

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