What Is The Speed Of Cargo Ships?

What do you know about the speed of cargo ships? Not much? Don’t get stressed, here we will give you everything about the cargo ships’ speed in detail. As a bonus, we will give you the formula to calculate the cargo ships’ speed along with an example. In the past few years, increasing prices of oil, adverse market conditions, stringent regulations, and environmental issues in regard to emissions from ships have made it very important to study the importance of the speed of the ship, especially cargo ships. Without further delta let’s get started and know the speed of cargo ships

What Is The Speed Of Cargo Ships? 

The speed of cargo ships is around 20 knots, which is equivalent to 37 km/h, which is relatively fast for container ships. The speed of the cargo ships has a non-linear relationship with the consumption of fuel. Because the ship which will go slower will have fewer air emissions than a ship going faster. The speed of the cargo ships has an impact at both the design level and operational levels. 

While designing, bigger container ships with less speed are being constructed to obtain less CO1 emission per container. But at the operational level, the practice of reducing speed as a response to depressed market conditions and high fuel prices known as slow steaming is being used in almost all commercial shipping sectors. Here are the different speeds of the cargo ships, 

  • The average speed of cargo ships is 20 knots  
  • The speed of modern cargo ships is between 20 and 25 knots 
  • The speed of cargo ships 1950s is between 18 and 20 knots   
  • The speed sail powered cargo ships is 11 miles per hour 
  • The speed of 18th century cargo ships is between 5 and 8 knots 

Now, you know the speed of cargo ships average, let’s understand how it would be calculated. 

Click here – What Is The Speed Of Land Animals?

Calculate The Speed Of Cargo Ships 

In the past, seafarers used a ‘chip log’ to measure the speed of the cargo ship. It consisted of a log attached to a rope with a number of knots at equal intervals. In this method, they drop the log in the water aft of the ship and one sailor watches the sand empty through a 30-second sandglass while others count the number of knots being passed. Then, they multiply the number of knots passed by the distance between the knots and divide the final answer by 30 seconds telling them that 1 knot is equal to 1.852 km/h or 1 nautical mile per hour. You can also calculate the speed of the cargo ships by using the formula which is given below, 

The speed of Cargo Ships(V) = (L x 60 )/(T x 100) 


L – is the length of the speed boat is feet 

T – it is the time in second 

V – It is the speed of a speed boat in knots 

Let’s have an example, 

A cargo ship whose length is 80 meters passes a point only in 3 seconds. What will be the speed of the cargo ship? 

So, here the cargo ship is passing over a point, which means it is crossing its length. So, the take distance is equal to the length of the cargo ship. 

By taking the formula, 

speed of Cargo Ships(V) = (L x 60 )/(T x 100) 

                                        = (80 x 60)/(3 x 100) 

                                        = 16 m/s 

About The Cargo Ship 

The cargo ship or freighter is a merchant ship that carries cargo, goods, and materials from one port to another port. Do you know? Thousands of cargo carriers are designed and installed in the seas and oceans each year, handling the bulk of international trade. In cargo ships, bulk carriers are designed to carry unpackaged goods. They haul large volumes of single-commodity goods such as fertilizers, grain, ore, wood, etc. the cargo ship can also be used to transport machinery, coal, cement, and other raw materials. 

While designing cargo ships, there are several factors that need to be considered. Out of everything consumed on the ship, fuel is the item that costs the most money. To sustain in the current world of prevailing oil crises and increasing oil prices, owners want economical ships having lower fuel consumption.  

You can know much more information on Caresguru

Click here – What Is The Speed Of A Yacht?


What Is The Speed Of Big Ship Per Hour?

What is the maximum speed of a cruise ship? The maximum speed for most modern vessels is about 30 knots or 34.5 mph, but just because they can glide along that fast doesn’t mean they actually do, or at least not all the time.

How Fast Can A Tanker Ship Go?

Deadweights of the largest tankers have gone up from 12,ooO to 30,000 tons and speeds have increased from 12 knots to 16 knots. In some instances speeds in excess of 16 knots have been adopted, but such ships were designed for special purposes.

How Much Fuel Does A Cargo Ship Use Per Hour?

The average tanker burns 2,623 gallons of diesel fuel per hour. It is said that 22.38 pounds of carbon dioxide are created from burning one gallon of diesel fuel.

How Many Miles Per Gallon Does A Cargo Ship Get?

A cargo ship can average 20 nautical miles per hour. How many hours would it take to travel 1000 miles? A fully loaded cargo ship can travel 576 miles per gallon of fuel per ton of cargo.

How Long Does It Take A Cargo Ship To Travel From China To The USA?

Shipping Containers Around the World

The most common way of transporting goods from China to the US is by cargo ship. From China, these ships can take about two to four weeks to arrive on the US West Coast or about three to five weeks if they are going to the US East Coast.

Why Use Cargo Ships?

Container ships carry cargo across oceans, providing the main physical link between products produced internationally and the customers who use them.


In this article, you have learned all about cargo ships, especially the speed of the cargo ships in detail. Now, your question may be how much fuel does a cargo ship use per km? So, a Panamax container ship can consume 63,000 gallons of marine fuel per day at that speed between 20 and 25 knots. The speed of the cargo ships is dependent on various factors like displacement of the vessel, draft, wind force, and direction, sea weather conditions, condition of the hull and the propeller, and so on. This is all about the speed of cargo ships.  

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