A conference organized by The Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA, 23-24 April 2003) is intended to address demands for new generation of container ships. The trend towards increased size of container ships presents unique challenges for owners, designers, operators, ports and classification societies. Naval architects and operators are constantly striving for innovation and this conference will explore the very latest in container ship thinking. RINA has invited papers exploring the structure, hydrodynamics, stability, operation and design of container vessels.
The container ship fleet has shown the fastest growth of any ship type. Today, roughly 70% of general cargo is already containerised and this figure is expected to continue to grow to more than 90% by 2010. Economies of scale have led to a rapid increase in size for all types of vessels from feeders to the larger inter-continental carriers. Ships with capacities in excess of 6600 TEU are already built and in service. The proposed new generation of ultra-large container ship (in excess of 10,000 TEU capacity) will require special considerations.
Questions of global and local structural strength, severe weather loads and stability must be addressed. Media attention has often focused on vulnerable deck cargos and the dangers of floating containers lost in bad weather. Problems with securing the containers to resist green water and potential problems with the safety and speed of loading and unloading are beginning to be addressed.