Stowage plan for container ships is the plan prepared on how cargo is loaded and stacked in a container vessel. The stowage plan also is known as the bay plan. Containers store in cargo holds and on deck according to the bay plan. It is needed to make sure 1st unloading containers to be on the top, last unloading containers to be loaded at the bottom. Also, light-weighted containers are at the top and high weighted containers are at the bottom. Further, some hazardous cargo reacts to sunlight and should store in cargo holds while some hazardous containers need to stack on the deck. Some cargo reacts to one another when they place nearby. Such cargo should load with different sections.
If the Stowage Plan for Container Ships need to change once the containers are loaded, restowing of containers need to be done.
Restow: Unload containers and re load at the correct location.
Restwoing of containers involves charges at ports. Also, wrong bay plans could lead to the breaking of container ships in the middle of the sea.
The Chief Officer of a vessel is responsible for the stowage plan. Cargo planners prepare the stowage plan and while loading and unloading bay plan change with the support of sea port staff to avoid possible risks.
In today’s context stowage plans are generated through the designed software. MACS3, Cloud CASP, and ASP are some commonly used stowage plan software.
You can create a virtual ship using the software and insert the cargo details. The software will automatically create a stowage plan for you.
What is the Requirement of a Stowage Plan for Container Ships?
- Maximise the vessel space use and achieve economies of scale
- Ensure safe passage of the vessel
- To maximise the cargo safety and minimize the cargo damages
- Minimize the risk of hazardous goods
Considerable Factors for Stowage Planning
- POD and POL of cargo
Port of Discharging and Port of Loading are the container’s loading and discharging ports
- Port of calls
Port of calls are the ports which vessel will be berthed or docked
- Vessel passage
Vessel passage is the route of the vessel. This is to identify the sequance of port calls
- Hazardous containers
There are special requirements to be met when storing hazardous cargo. Due to their reactions need to very careful on the slot given to the hazardous container as well as the cargo around the hazardous container
- Reefer containers
Reefer containers carry refrigerated cargo. These containers should keep in slots where the reefer points or electricity available to plug them in
- Dry cargo containers
Dry cargo containers carry general cargo. Most of the general cargo does not have any special requirements to be met.
- Dry hide containers
These containers are with the cargo which may cause leakages during the voyage. For example, fresh leather may have liquids coming out of leather. Such containers should load in a slot where it can easily take out.
- OOG Cargo
Out Of Gauge cargo cannot be packed or stuffed in a standard container. This cargo has a length, width, or height which doesn’t fit a container. Sometimes few measures may not fit the container. Special containers like flat racks, open-top containers use to carry OOG cargo. Containers with such cargo cannot be loaded like dry containers.
- Cargo weight
The weight of the container is important to identify which layer it could be loaded. Even the container size is the same, the weight of cargo inside could differ. Also, weight is important to load containers without disturbing the stability of the ship.
- Container Size
A 40 container could be loaded on top of two 20 containers. Yet it is important to know the container size to allocate the slot. Mistaking 40 containers as a 20 container could lead to container shut outs
- Hatch cover clearance
Cargo holds have hatch covers. Once the containers are loaded holds can cover with the hatch covers. If 40 high cube (HC) containers are loaded to hold, such holds cannot be closed as the height of 40 HC is higher than the standard 20, 40 containers.
- Vessel stability: metacentric height (GM)
How to name a Container Location in Stowage Plan
Container location is mentioned in a stowage plan as per the bay-raw-tier, the container is sitting. This is well related to the length, width, and height. Bay number count from the vessel’s bow to stern. Bay number divided into two parts as in the cargo hold (under the deck) and on deck. If the bay number is odd such bays are suitable to stack and lash 20-foot containers. If the bay number is even it is utilized for a 40-foot container. Raw number count from the middle of the ship to outside and raws run on ship’s length. When numbering the raw even numbers come on the port side and odd numbers are on the starboard side. Tier count from the bottom to top and they are the layers of containers.
Same as for the Stowage Plan for Container Ships any vessel has a stowage plan prior to loading cargo despite the cargo type.