Livestock Carriers: Leading Players in Global Cattle Export and Transportation Sector

Livestock Carriers: Livestock carriers are cargo ships that are used to move various animals such as sheep, goats, cows, and buffaloes. These are important points in the global food chain where a number of countries benefit from increasing cattle exports and gain access to high-quality meat and other livestock extractives.

Livestock carriers are utilized for cattle transportation within the nation as well as for livestock transportation across international borders. The majority of livestock transporters travel to Gulf nations from Europe and Australia.

The Livestock Carriers’ Design

When building livestock carriers, it’s crucial to keep in mind that the animals will only be carried as cargo. Perhaps this means that they are the only kind of cargo that is genuinely “living.” People transported on ferries and passenger ships are handled as legitimate passengers, not cargo!

The fact that, in contrast to other cargo, it is imperative and necessary to guarantee that every animal travels alive and in good health is a critical component of this situation.

Any livestock death or incapacitation results in a loss for the company. To support and care for such a big number of animals, the vessel must be hospitable in addition to having the necessary capacity for animals.

The IMO and SOLAS standards contain some elements that can be applied to livestock carriers and are based loosely on the general guidelines for passenger and cargo boats, but they still lack a defined framework for the design and construction of livestock carriers.

Certain countries have developed more intricate frameworks for the construction and organization of cattle carriers under their names, such as Australia’s MO43 or DG Shipping, India’s DGS Order 4, which outline extensive rules.

Many companies construct livestock carriers specifically for that use or convert them from older cargo ships like containerships. The following specifications form the basis of cattle carrier design:

  • Safe loading, unloading, and stocking or penning of the livestock.
  • Proper upkeep and sustenance of the livestock onboard.
  • The appropriate internal arrangement of spaces and avoiding obstructions on board.
  • Provision and stowage of adequate feed and water for the livestock.
  • Ventilation and Aeration
  • Safety of the livestock
  • Drainage of livestock wastes
  • Adequate systems for lighting, ventilation, air-conditioning, drainage, and water supply for the livestock.
  • Fire safety protection
  • Structural Design
  • Stability requirements

Allow us to now quickly talk about them.

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Secure loading and unloading

The loading and unloading of animals is by far the most important part of the operation. Skilled workers must guide the vessels into their designated holds in large quantities because mechanics cannot immediately tow them like other cargo vessels. Precautions are taken to prevent injury to the animals. On the other hand, an excessive amount of cattle intrusion does not harm the ship’s interior structural elements or interfere with any of the onboard machinery or systems.

Distribution of Weights

Extra caution is used to ensure that the weight distribution complies with stability regulations and does not change significantly, which could compromise the stability of the ship, similar to loading and unloading other cargo ships. Livestock organizers consistently organize livestock during stowage and penning to prevent any noticeable differential loading at any point on the vessel.

Once you load the livestock, the next concern is to accommodate the animals inside the allotted places. Farmers keep the majority of cattle in cages that resemble pens in the main cargo area. There are passageways or alleyways between each row of these pens. Architects arrange these decks in several levels, often connecting them with sloping ramps on the inside and outside.

Onboard Livestock Pens: Dimensions

The pens accommodate the specified number of animals in the specific floor area without squeezing or crowding them, depending on the kind of livestock. Farmers set aside more room for larger breeds of livestock, such as bulls or buffaloes, as well as furry animals, such as lambs with thick wool. The criteria determine the precise floor area designation, but we often add a 10% safety buffer for all intents and purposes. The designers design the pens after the size of the livestock and estimate the necessary areas.

These pens now need to accommodate the size of the cattle and have enough clearances for ventilation and aeration. Cattle need to be able to access the feeding areas and water supply without crushing each other. Farmers often assign higher space for larger cattle, depending on regulations, the type of vessel, and the livestock.

Nonetheless, a livestock carrier’s maximum individual pen size is 40 square meters. Additionally, people precisely raise pens to a minimum of one meter. On occasion, the height may also be around two meters.

Suitable longitudinal guard rails on the sides commonly hem the pens. The maximum spacing between these rails is often between 200 and 300 mm in order to prevent animals from escaping through them. Furthermore, we maintain the distance of the lowest rail from the floor to a maximum of 200 mm.

The passages divide the rows of pens that make up the arrangement. The passages that divide two rows of pens on either side typically measure between 900 and 1000 mm in width, whereas those that feature pens on just one side measure between 750 and 800 mm. These fundamental space requirements are there to protect crew members from both animal attacks and overcrowding during loading and unloading.

Connected ramps at various vertical deck elevations divide up all the areas for cattle and livestock. Again, ramp specs could differ from ship to ship, but the minimum width is typically between 500 and 600 millimeters. Moreover, they reach a maximum height of one meter above a level and have a slope aspect or gradient ratio of roughly 1:2 or 0.5. Floor battens are a common characteristic of them.

Strength Level Requirements

The fundamental tenet of strength design for livestock carriers is that animals are dynamic, living loads as opposed to static loads. This implies that they effectively provide a dynamic component that varies over time, resulting in a higher level of incoming demands.

The design team needs to carefully consider every aspect of the design, from the strength of the deck surfaces to the rails and boundary walls of the enclosures or pens. Typically, ship size and the number of animals it is meant to carry determine the initial strength of the decks. Furthermore, the type of cattle also plays a role. The design of the floor deck calls for it to sustain a weight 1.5 times more than the initial anticipation per square meter based on the size and kind of cattle.

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The guard and pen rails should be able to sustain larger weights from animal impacts after the decks. They vary according to the guidelines. Manufacturers make the hinges, nuts, and connectors on railings to support large weights. They also make decks more rigid.

Ventilation and Aeration

Ventilation and Aeration of livestock ship
(Credit: Wikipedia)

There should also be a suitable ventilation system for letting air in and vapours out of the stowage compartments. For the livestock to survive for extended portions of the journey, this is crucial.

Mechanical ventilation systems frequently achieve exhaust and circulation of forced air. Additionally, the decks used to store the livestock feature appropriate, transparent openings and slits for adequate oxygenation and cross-ventilation. However, cattle stored at open or exposed weather decks do not need any kind of ventilation or aeration.

A steady supply of food and water is also necessary, in addition to ventilation and aeration. A livestock vessel should have enough room to store extra feed for the animals while it is at sea. Typically, the operator maintains the feedstock at an excess margin of more than 25%. The areas used for storing feed are quite distinct from those used for housing animals. Pipelines deliver fresh water from freshwater tanks to livestock areas on larger vessels transporting huge livestock sizes. There are filtration and purification systems on board, and the hotel load powers them.

Energy Usage

Livestock carriers use a great deal of energy because their pens need lighting, ventilation, aeration, drainage, and water pumps. Every vessel has two main power sources: primary and secondary.

We install appropriate drainage systems in every pen to eliminate animal waste. We hold animal feces in sewage tanks or burn them according to MARPOL regulations, rather than dumping them into the ocean.

The structural fire protection satisfies SOLAS 74 criteria.

A succinct overview of stability

For livestock transporters, stability is just as important as strength because changing livestock might have consequences. Various flags have their empirical formulations for stability design and stability guidelines.

For the specified design, the heeling lever and all relevant statical stability curve data are typical. Because of this, the plan is designed so that in the event of an unexpected shift in animals, if the vessel lists quickly to one side, the righting lever will need to be sufficiently large to provide an equally large restoring moment to raise the vessel back upright. Furthermore, the vessel shouldn’t be overly sensitive or rigid.

It is also necessary to meet the other stability requirements based on external heeling moments and weather conditions.

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