MV Kooringa was the world's first fully cellular purpose-built container ship and was built by Australian company, Associated Steamships Pty. Ltd. in partnership with McIlwraith, McEacharn & Co and commissioned in May 1964. It was built at the New South Wales State Dockyard at Dykes Point, Newcastle as a "custom-designed cellular container ship to handle 20-ton containers".
The 6,750 ton ship was designed to handle 10,000 tons of containerised cargo in 36 hours by being loaded and unloaded simultaneously. It entered the Melbourne-Fremantle trade in 1964, arriving at Fremantle Harbour on 19 June that year. Two more purpose built container ships, MV Kanimbla and MV Manoora joined the regular service in 1969 and the three ships continued to operate until 1975 when competition from rail freight made the service non-viable.
The ship was named after the now closed mining town of Kooringa, South Australia.
Another ship of the same name
A ship of the same name, the 339 ton SS Kooringa was built for the Yorke Peninsula Steamship Co. Ltd. in 1902 and ran mail, passenger and cargo between Port Adelaide and ports along the Yorke Peninsula and Kangaroo Island. Yorke Steamship Co. was ultimately taken over by Adelaide Steamship Company.
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