This website focuses on cement distribution by water. Cement distribution by train or truck are addressed in this website as a side issue only.

Cement transportation by water is usually the link between an export terminal (supplied by one or more cement plants and an import terminal. Cement transportation on inland water or along coasts is usual between a cement plant and a distribution terminal or sometimes even directly to final customers such as ready mix plants and concrete product plants.

Cement transportation by water can be realized by using either general cargo ships (ships that are suitable to handle all kinds of bulk cargo and sometimes even general cargo) or specialist ships that only carry cement and have their own loading and unloading equipment. These specialist ships are called cement carriers and are available in a large range of size and types. Self discharging cement carriers can be as small as 300 tons cargo capacity (small inland barges). The largest self discharging cement carriers have a cargo capacity of 40.000 tons.Shine Ho - self discharging ship

General cargo ships are also available in a wide range of type and sizes. For distribution on inland waterways there are barges or small self-propelled ships in ranges from 200 to 2.500 tons. For cement transport in coastal regions ships between 1.000 and 7.000 tons cargo capacity are available. For larger distances there are small bulk carriers (up to 15,000) tons) and Handy size bulk carriers (15.000 - 35.000 tons) and handy max size bulk carriers (35.000 - 50.000 tons cargo capacity). Handymax ships are usually the largest type of ship used for cement transport although occasionally panamax size ships (50.000 - 75.000 tons)_ and even one time a capesize ship (75.000 - 125.000) were used.

The size of the ship used is very much dependent on the transportation distance and the available water depths and berthing possibilities. The annual quantity to be transported is also an important factor.

As the commodity cost of cement is quite low, The transportation cost is a key factor in competitively supplying customers with cement. General cargo ship Waterborne transportation has substantially lower costs than train or truck transportation but requires substantial infrastructure to load and unload ships. The cost of waterborne transportation is dependent on transportation distance, ship size and several other factors, but most of all the market conditions on the required trading route. For example when the US exports more wood, coal, grain and other bulk commodities to Asia than there is bulk cargo going back, shipping cement from Asia to the USA will be quite cheap as some ships otherwise would have to return empty. 

Shipping nowadays is a complex mix involving investors, ship owning companies, ship management companies and shipbrokers to arrange the freight.

For more information on shipping read:

Or check our capabilities in respect to shipping

For specific questions please contact us.