How to design a cargo boat?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Hudsonbayco, Aug 29, 2015.

  1. Hudsonbayco
    Joined: Aug 2015
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    Location: Canada

    Hudsonbayco New Member

    I own a few small hotels/grocery stores in northern Canada (Nunavut, NWT) and Greenland. One good part about having locations in this part of the world is that all living costs are high, which means that a $1 can of Coca-Cola can be sold for $3.50-$4. In order to use the high costs to you advantage though, you have to cut transporting costs. Currently, most of my goods have to be flown in or brought in by ship (which usually only happens once or twice a year and is still not cheap). Anyway, I think it might be a good idea to build or purchase a boat with which to transport the goods personally. It would increase my profit margins and allow me to ship other supplies to different businesses. So, how would I go about designing my own cargo boat? Would it be better to just buy a premade one? If so, how much would it cost?* Sorry for the rambling post, I'm a bit ignorant about purchasing and building boats. Any help would be great

    *The boat should have a cargo capacity of at least 40-150lt. It can be sail or diesel, whatever's cheaper. It needs a range of 350-600 nm.
  2. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
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    Location: Australia

    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    You seem to be admitting to profiteering, but you still have a way to go to catch up with an island storekeeper in this country who was charging $10 for a packet of biscuits that sold for $2 at a mainland supermarket, and the island was within a short boat ride over protected waters ! And 40-150 "lt" is long tons ? That is a sizeable vessel, and you can't be serious about creating something like that from scratch, with zero knowledge or experience ? You are talking about a whole new business with a very large outlay, and it seems to contravene the conventional wisdom that getting involved in a business you have essentially no grounding in, is a big risk. I'd be more inclined to put your shipping requirements out to tender, if you think you are being over-charged. If no-one comes up with an attractive offer, it might be a signal that the price you now pay, isn't really as exorbitant as it seems.
  3. philSweet
    Joined: May 2008
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    Location: Beaufort, SC and H'ville, NC

    philSweet Senior Member

    The way this is often done in the Caribbean is to transport a few semi trailers on something like a support boat. Normally no tractor goes along, each island has its own. But you could take one if you wanted, it just eats into capacity. Cheaper to have a few derelict tractors scattered around. This keeps things very simple as far as other customers are concerned - you are transporting a trailer for them. Their job is to get it to the embarkation point and offload it at the other end.

    Thinking about it, you could probably charter a Caribbean boat from July to November, They try to bug out during Hurricane season.
  4. rasorinc
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    rasorinc Senior Member

    To get a better understanding of what you want to achieve I pose these questions.
    Assume a delivery every 2 weeks to restock your stores. How many 8' x 20' shipping
    containers do you have to fill for a 14 day inventory. How many miles north of a Washington port are you for unloading. Just maybe you do not need as large a boat as you think. Do you now pay by the ton or do you pay by the container?
    PS I was assuming you were in western Canada so just give me mileage to an eastern port.
  5. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Welcome to the fourm.

    If you want to design a cargo ship, you'll need an NA's assistance. Of course, then you'll have to build it. This is quite costly, so picking up a cargo ship is the logical choice, especially if you'd like to get this done in less than a year or two. You might want to evaluate the amount you'll need to resupply, as this will determine the size and capability of the vessel. With this in hand, you can shop around for something suitable.
  6. gonzo
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

  7. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    Location: Coastal Georgia

    SamSam Senior Member

    Here's one on the East coast, although I don't know how seaworthy they are.

    ID 1765 REF h1gn Year: Flag: US: Location: East Coast US Price: $298,000
    Length: 74' Beam: 21' Draft: DWT: 80 BHP: BP: Class:
    74 LCM

    21' beam

    Excellent condition - only a few hundred hours use by military.

    Will include installation of the following:

    Fresh remanufactured Detroit Marine Diesels, 12V71N of 400 HP each, all in standard size and Dyno tested with Dyno report signed by two engineers. Zero hours, and a pair of Twin Disc 2:1 Marine transmissions also fresh remanufactured.


  8. CDBarry
    Joined: Nov 2002
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    Location: Maryland

    CDBarry Senior Member

    I would agree that at leasr at first glance an LCM or at least an LCM type is probably what you are looking for. I designed a number of boats similar to this for communities in Alaska and a bow ramp is probably critical.

    If that is not the case, an OSV conversion might be appropriate. Tidewater has a guy who specializes in this type of thing.

    In any case though you will profit from advice from a real naval architect. My first choice would Robert Allan in Vancouver.
  9. TANSL
    Joined: Sep 2011
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    Location: Spain

    TANSL Senior Member

    I have a project for a landing craft 40', aluminum, outboard engine, with all the construction plans. I would have no inconveniete to show you the plans.
  10. Hudsonbayco
    Joined: Aug 2015
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    Location: Canada

    Hudsonbayco New Member

    So just to clear up a few things:
    - currently I have to pay by the ton for transporting goods. Food and supplies for the stores aren't huge issues (although reducing shipping costs would be nice) but building materials, machinery and fuel are very expensive to ship.
    - I operate mostly in remote villages in eastern canada
    - since I have no experience in the shipping industry, I was not planning on building the boat myself, but rather creating a general design and having a na/real shipyard build it or just finding the best price for a used boat (I don't know what a good price is for a cargo boat)
    - The LCM looks great size-wise, but is it suitable for sailing longer distances on the open sea?
    - most villages don't have great docking facilities, so a bow ramp would be great
    - to answer rasorinc, I must transport about one shipping container worth of material every two-three weeks to keep inventory stocked, more if I need building materials or vehicles shipped
  11. NavalSArtichoke
    Joined: Oct 2013
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    Location: GulfCoast

    NavalSArtichoke Senior Member

    You might have a problem with range. LCMs are short-legged, with a range of 190 miles at 9 knots according to this:

    The latter link lists fuel capacity at 1146 gallons. You might be carrying quite a bit of extra fuel to make a trip of 600 nm. Also, cargo capacity is about 50-60 tons at most. Your crew will have to be hardy souls as well, since there's no cabin or protection from the elements.

    Since we're talking Greenland and the NWT, what about ice? Are the places you are planning to serve iced in part of (most of) the year? If so, you won't get very far in one of these craft, since they'll slide up on top of the first ice shelf you reach, and then you're stuck.
  12. CDBarry
    Joined: Nov 2002
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    CDBarry Senior Member

    You definitely need to contact a real naval architect first thing.

    Meanwhile, you may want to buy Cyrus Hamlin's book "Preliminary Design of Boats and Ships" (there's a used copy available cheap through Barnes and Noble). This will cover most of your questions and get you up to speed and ready to go talk to a naval architect.
  13. rasorinc
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    rasorinc Senior Member

    Your answers greatly simplify the size boat you need. are there other services where you go that might profit from having you supply them with your boat? Also, the question about ice is very important. Operating in and around ice changes lots of things regarding design. Also I need to know operating range. Thanks for answering these questions.
  14. Squidly-Diddly
    Joined: Sep 2007
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    Location: SF bay

    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

    I'd look at a newly surplus Japanese Whaling Fleet ship ( believe they used ships of several sizes from "factory" to "chaser").

    1)Ice rated

    2)Japanese quality

    3)if not an exact fit, still an "all business" vessel

    4)Long range

    Only prob I see is "Making the connection" might be very slow and awkward. Expect a big "Huh?" and blank stares if offering to buy one of their ex-whalers. And WTF knows about how a Japanese built and registered ship that never touched a non-Japan port would go over with US/Canadian laws.

    SCRATCH ALL THAT, Japan to resume "research hunting" next year.

    Here is much bigger landing craft, but I'd wonder what sort of MPG it gets compared to normal monohull.

  15. JSL
    Joined: Nov 2012
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    Location: Delta BC

    JSL Senior Member

    Even though you are a private enterprise (moving your own goods) you will (may?) have to comply with Transport Canada regs ... both the vessel and the crew. Add up the costs (design-build-operating-maintaining- etc) and the fact that you will probably be dealing with ice and other navigational hazards (shifting sand-bars etc) you can determine if this 'new' enterprise is really worth it.
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