What are the Different Types of Livestock Transport?

Vessels used in the effective transportation of livestock across the ocean are called livestock carriers or cattle ships. Without the assistance of these ships, international livestock shipping and transport would be impossible to fulfill, resulting in a logistics nightmare. The animals aboard these vessels include goats, sheep, cows, and other species of cattle. The successful transfer of these animals as primary transportation items is undertaken through an import-export process. For this reason, animal cargo operations carrying these animals require approval and licensing by appropriate authorities in all countries. In this article, we discuss the different types of livestock transport.

What are the Different Types of Livestock Transport?

There are two primary specifications involved with the classification of these vessels. The difference between the two methods isn’t in the weight capacity but rather in the housing aspect of the livestock carried by these ships. These ships are capable of hosting up to 2,500 dead weight tonnage (DWT) when transporting animals, which is considerably high.

#1 Open-Pen Livestock Carriers

The two types of vessels used in transporting livestock across the seas are categorized as follows. As their names suggest, open-pen livestock carriers pen or store the animals in the open. That doesn’t mean the animals don’t have containment on the vessel, however.

Open-pen refers to the storage areas or pens situated on the ship’s deck side. This animal penning style ensures they have sufficient space to breathe, removing the risk of suffocation. However, the drawback of this penning style is that the pens are situated on the deck, with the sea winds continuously blowing over them, increasing the risk of adverse problems occurring with the animals due to over-exposure.

To solve this problem, livestock logistics companies employ the use of mechanical or closed livestock pens aboard livestock transport vessels.

#2 Closed-Pen Livestock Carriers

The use of closed pens transportation removes the risk of over-exposure to the animals aboard the vessel. These mechanical or closed pens are situated below the deck, unlike the open-pen configurations on the vessel’s deck. As a result of the configuration, the animals don’t have to deal with the risk of over-exposure to the elements which can help reduce stress. However, loaded pen systems require continuous monitoring to ensure adequate maintenance of the pens to prevent disease outbreaks.

We should note that these livestock carriers also need to store significant quantities of food for the animals to feed them throughout the journey. The number of crew members allocated to the vessel also determines the efficacy of feeding and maintenance of the animals during the voyage. Since the number of animals aboard the vessel vastly outnumbers the crew, the crew needs adequate training and membership to handle the animals during the long voyage at sea.

Livestock Transportation

The business of livestock transportation is a challenging operation. However, these logistics issues are overcome with the assistance of livestock carriers, making it a feasible and profitable industry. Cattle ships provide proof that we have the technology and proven methods to transport anything across the vast expanse of the ocean, including animals.

Additional information: The Rise & Fall of the Omaha Stockyards

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