a cargo vessel designed to carry various types of dry cargoes, including piece goods (such as bales, boxes, and containers), loose cargoes (such as grain and cement), and bulk materials (such as ore and coal), as well as motor vehicles, tractors, railroad cars, and liquid cargoes in containers and deep tanks. Specialized dry-cargo freighters carry a single type of cargo and are usually so designated—for example, container ships, timber freighters, ore carriers, and banana boats. Combination freighters, such as timber-bulk and bulk-container vessels, are designed to carry any one of two or three different types of cargoes per run. Multipurpose dry-cargo freighters can carry several types of cargoes at the same time.
The cargoes are carried in holds, between decks, or in deep tanks; piece goods are carried on the top deck. Multipurpose dry-cargo freighters have multiple decks; specialized vessels may have a single deck or several decks. Dry-cargo freighters are loaded and unloaded vertically, through cargo hatches on the top deck, or horizontally, through side, bow, or stern ports located above the level of the main deck. Most dry-cargo freighters have their own cargo-handling equipment, such as fixed or mobile cranes, booms, and conveyors. With horizontal loading, the cargo is transported by gravity along a ramp running from the dock to the ship or by means of forklifts or prime movers; the cargo is moved from one deck to another by elevators or hoists.
Oceangoing dry-cargo freighters have capacities up to 200,000 tons and are capable of speeds up to 33 knots (approximately 60 km/hr); they typically have double hulls. Dry-cargo river freighters have capacities of 5,000–8,000 tons and are capable of speeds of 15–20 km/hr.
L. G. SOKOLOV