Direction of containers when loaded on a ship
A very interesting and seemingly unassuming question from Colin :-
Are containers loaded so that the doors all face the same direction (i.e. fore or aft) or is it random?
Colin, estimates put the annual cost of cargo crime worldwide at between US$30-50 billion.. Shipping lines, Terminal operators and vessel operators have to constantly watch out for theft, pilferage and crime at ports, terminals and transport depots..
If a container is correctly packed and the doors secured properly, access can be gained only by
- Cutting up the container’s body
- By breaking the seal of the container or
- Removing the entire door
The presence of a seal (with the same number) on a container proves that its cargo has remained secure from the time it was packed until the time it has been discharged.. It is not an anti-theft device and a criminal can virtually open any seal or section of a container to gain access..
Why am I telling you this and how is it relevant to your question..??
When the containers are loaded from the stack onto the trucks in the port and moved to the ship for loading, they are loaded with the doors facing outwards as the details of the container including the seal number and the condition of the seal are recorded by most ports..
Depending on the loading plan of the ship and where that particular container is placed, the door of the container could be facing inwards or outwards.. But since the trucks would be travelling in a circular direction around the stack area, the containers will all arrive under hook with the doors facing outwards and the cranes will load it in the same direction, therefore the containers will be loaded on board the ship in the same direction..
If you look at most images of container ships, you will find images as above where you see the container doors are facing outwards..
But if you see below picture (click on it to enlarge), you can see some containers are loaded in either direction..
Reefer containers are generally stowed with the machinery facing outwards so that it can be monitored on board..
If anyone else has a better explanation or answer to this question, please do respond with valid reasons for the same.. Is there any other logic to above question..?? It would be very interesting to hear..