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Ships of today

Discover why today there are more different types of ships than there have ever been.  Find out how each type contributes to carrying the world's trade in ways that are more efficient than those that have gone before.
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People carriers

The vast expansion of air travel that began in the 1960s quickly threatened passenger liners. Today’s important people mover is the passenger ferry. Discover some of the problems and solution facing the liners and the design problems to be overcome in a modern ferry.
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 Trade in boxes

Containerisation has been perhaps the biggest revolution in shipping since the replacement of wind by steam power. Explore what it has meant for ships, ports and seafarers, and just who has benefitted.
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Lift on, lift off

There is still much work for the unspecialised general cargo ship, descendant of the tramp or cargo liner. Find out what they do and what makes for a successful design.
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 Today's tramps

The descendant of the steam tramp is a vessel designed to carry low-value commodities incredibly cheaply. So cheaply in fact that the bulk carrier has had a major impact on world economies. Find out more here.
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Drive on, drive off

Wartime tank landing craft gave ferry operators the idea for services in which vehicles could simply be driven on and driven off. Learn why these ro-ro services have succeeded on shorter routes, but failed to replace container ships on longer distance services.
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 Liquids in bulk

Like most ships, tankers have become more specialised in recent decades. Explore the different types of tanker, their special features, and their importance to the modern world.
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Keeping it cool

Reefers and fruiters were developed to help countries export their meat or fruit to distant markets in good condition. Learn how they make a major contribution to the availability of the food we eat.
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 The heavyweights

As items of cargo to be shipped became heavier, shipowners needed heavy lift ships. Find out how these developed, from conventional ships with extra-strong cargo gear and decks, to sophisticated vessels on to which very heavy items could be floated.
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Special ships, special cargoes

Owners efforts to win business have seen them build highly specialised ships, for instance to carry orange juice, or nuclear fuel. Find out the advantages and disadvantages of ships dedicated to such specialised cargoes.
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 Surviving offshore

As oil exploration moved further and further offshore, ships have been built to service and maintain drilling rigs in deep and often very stormy waters. Learn about the conditions offshore and the needs of the industry for offshore support vessels.
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