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Definition: Lighter

Lighter is a large container used to transfer goods/people as well as containers from ports, etc. Lightering can also mean transporting through small containers if there is very less distance to travel. They are still in use for cargo but were majorly used till 1960 when they were handled by lightermen. Owing to the name, they were not able to carry huge ships as they had a capacity of 400 tons.

Lighters don’t have engines fitted; instead they have tugboats towed such that they can be pushed around canals and rivers, etc. Carrier ships are known as kangaroo and barge carriers too.

Such barges can be used in emergency, when we need to transfer perishable items or oil to nearby places so that it is not spilled into the water. One disadvantage of lighter is that they cannot be moved from one place to other under their own power. They need to be towed.

Advantages here include that no port or docking facilities are needed and it doesn’t take much time to load and discharge a lighter, i.e. max 15 minutes.


Hence, this concludes the definition of Lighter along with its overview.


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