Multi-Purpose

Most modern deepsea tweendeckers range in size around 20,000 deadweight, although there are still very many vessels in this market of around 12/18,000 tonnes dwt. This latter fleet is generally ageing, however, and their modern counterparts are frequently better described as “multi-purpose” having the ability to fold tweendecks to convert to and compete with smaller bulkcarriers. The modern versions of this category are in demand for liner traffic from the Far East and for the more sophisticated trades ex Europe, whilst the older versions are the true “tramps” of today’s dry-cargo market, scouring the world’s oceans for whatever profitable cargo is around – frequently engaged in the carriage of bagged fertilisers, grains and agricultural products and occasional bulk commodities – e.g. sugar. However, just as tweendeckers compete for the cargoes that might otherwise be the exclusive domain of smaller bulkcarriers, so those bulkcarriers can be used for what were once considered exclusive tweendeck “liner” trades, as more and more of the liner trades that remain after the deprivations associated with containerisation develop more of a “parcelling” attitude to the services they advertise, for which bulkcarriers are perfectly suitable. Short Sea: Enterprising modern short sea owners are not necessarily restricting themselves to coastal trades, and it is not uncommon to find small vessels of less than 10,000 tonnes trading far afield from their normal operating area. In fact they provide a valuable alternative shipment means to parcelling for those shippers and traders seeking a more personal involvement in the carriage of their commodities. This process has been aided by a general move to ship smaller commodity parcels and by the removal of crewing restrictions by various governments. There is no reason why it should not become more common in the years ahead for smaller vessels to be found around the world in a purely “tramp” capacity, having been enticed away form their normal waters by an attractive freight.