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Lock-based Ship Design

Article photo for Lock-based Ship DesignExcerpts from the article, Lock-based Ship Design in the Great Lakes / Seaway Review magazine written by NETSCo’s Richard Mueller, President / CEO and Nick Hunter, Naval Architect:

In an environment like lock-based ship design, where the vessel’s maximum size and volume is constrained, the cargo carrying capacity is also limited. This is where the concept of volume-limited cargo versus weight-limited cargo comes into play.

Cargo designation as weight or volume limited largely comes from its density. Generally, a bulk product like taconite or oil has a high density. The weight of the cargo will limit how much a vessel can carry. Alternatively, a vessel will run out of cargo volume when carrying a lighter density cargo like coal or limestone before it is limited by the weight of the product. This important distinction is easily seen in a ship’s design when comparing, for example, the size of an oceangoing containership to a liquid product tanker.

The size limitations through the [St. Lawrence] Seaway, however, are such that any economies of scale for containerships or other dedicated volume-limited cargo ships, are limited, therefore, forcing more creativity in vessel design and operation.

In lock-based ship design, when so many design criteria are controlled or limited, shipowners, operators and designers find creative ways to continue using the infrastructure to their benefit.

The St. Lawrence Seaway system has had a long history of being in the forefront of using cutting edge technology, often in unique and novel ways, to make the passage of ships happen as rapidly as possible, yet more safely.

Read the entire article, Lock-based Ship Design and learn how “merging vessel design with the physical realities of lock and canal designs and employing the latest technologies are working together to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of the system.”

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