About The Industry

Liner Ships

There are more than 6,000 ships, mostly containerships*, operating in liner services with most built since 1980. Liner ships have the capacity to carry several warehouses-worth of goods, which makes one journey very efficient. In an average year a large container ship travels three-quarters of the distance to the moon. That means that in its lifetime it travels to the moon and back nearly ten times!

Container Ship Design

Container ships carry their containers both on and below deck. Deck-stowed containers on an 11,000 TEU vessel are stacked up to seven to eight high and nineteen across, inter-locked with fittings and secured by special lashings. Ships generally carry a mix of 20-foot and 40-foot boxes. Most can also carry 45-foot and 48-foot containers on deck and some can carry 53-foot containers as well. Learn more about containerships.

Container Vessel Fleet

There are more than 5,000 container ships in the global fleet, most of which are operated by members of the World Shipping Council and there are more than 390 new vessels on order.* Container ships have grown in size from just 1,500 TEU in 1976 to ships able to carry in excess of 12,000 TEU today, with some ships on order capable of carrying 18,000 TEU. Today's ships not only are able to carry more goods in one voyage, they are much more fuel efficient.   Learn more about the container vessel fleet.

Other Liner Vessels

In addition to container ships, the liner vessel fleet includes more than 1,200* RoRo and car carrier ships that transport cars, trucks and other vehicles as well as agricultural and construction machinery. These ships can also transport cargo too long, too wide or too heavy for movement in standard containers on board container ships. Learn more about the other liner vessels.

*Alphaliner - Cellular Fleet June 2018