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A ship's hold
is a space for carrying cargo
Cargo is goods or produce transported, generally for commercial gain, by ship, aircraft, train, van or truck. In modern times, containers are used in most intermodal long-haul cargo transport.-Marine:...
. Cargo in holds may be either packaged in crates, bales, etc., or unpackaged (bulk cargo
Bulk cargo is commodity cargo that is transported unpackaged in large quantities. This cargo is usually dropped or poured, with a spout or shovel bucket, as a liquid or as a mass of relatively small solids , into a bulk carrier ship's hold, railroad car, or tanker truck/trailer/semi-trailer body...
). Access to holds is by a large hatch at the top. Ships have had holds for centuries; an alternative way to carry cargo is in standardised shipping containers
An intermodal container is a standardized reusable steel box used for the safe, efficient and secure storage and movement of materials and products within a global containerized intermodal freight transport system...
, which may be loaded into appropriate holds or carried on deck.
Holds in older ship
Since the end of the age of sail a ship has been any large buoyant marine vessel. Ships are generally distinguished from boats based on size and cargo or passenger capacity. Ships are used on lakes, seas, and rivers for a variety of activities, such as the transport of people or goods, fishing,...
s were below the orlop deck
The orlop is the lowest deck in a ship . It is the deck or part of a deck where the cables are stowed, usually below the water line...
, the lower part of the interior of a ship's hull
A hull is the watertight body of a ship or boat. Above the hull is the superstructure and/or deckhouse, where present. The line where the hull meets the water surface is called the waterline.The structure of the hull varies depending on the vessel type...
, especially when considered as storage space, as for cargo. In later merchant vessels it extended up through the decks to the underside of the weather deck.