As you can see, a major difference is whether the cargo is placed on-deck or under-deck, which highlights the importance of a good stowage plan. When loading the vessel, one must consider the value of the cargo and its sensitivity to various environmental conditions, such as:
- Solar radiation
- Spray and rain
- Temperature variations
For example, containers travelling on deck are exposed to solar radiation and large daily high temperature variations. By contrast, ventilation is restricted under-deck there. All these issues must obviously be addressed by the stowage plan.
We bananas may travel above or below the deck. Since our containers are refrigerated, they are less sensitive to environmental conditions. As you already know from our previous post “Reefers pioneers”, bananas travel in reefers, as the refrigerated containers are known. The reefers will be loaded in the spaces provided for them, taking account that it is essential to select the optimum location in the ship. And this not just to avoid damaging the cargo, also to guarantee the stability and to expedite unloading.
The stowage plan is a longitudinal view of the ship indicating the slot allotted to each container. When the ship is being loaded, each container goes to its designated location, and data about its weight, volume, nature, etc. is recorded. The vertical distribution of weights is very important, as it affects the rolling of the ship. Colours are used to identify the cargo areas to be unloaded at each port, as the ship may have more than one destination.
And that’s why a stowage plan is so indispensable.
We will deal with other aspects related to the stowage plan in future Bananita Posts : For example, how automated are the processes of loading and unloading cargo ships? or how and when do you choose which containers to unload from a ship?.