The Cargo Ship is a sturdy and reliable trade ship, with a large cargo capacity.
The last word in bulk transportation is the Cargo Ship. While more expensive by a fair margin to maintain than a Clipper, the Cargo Ship can carry an unparalleled six holds worth of cargo, and suffers almost no slowdown when under full load. Combined with two item slots and the fact that they aren't slowed by the wind, Cargo Ships are perfect for large-scale trans-Oceanic trade.
Cargo Ships shouldn't replace your Clippers one-for-one, unless (or until) you have no other cash concerns. One-for-two is another matter. They should take over for routes that require both massive bulk and constant speed, such as Rum. Compared to sail, Cargo Ships are reliable, and should be used when that is the first consideration. They are also much tougher than Clippers, though hopefully this isn't a feature you're relying on.
Cargo Ships are also excellent ships for Expeditions; while they have the same stats as any other transport ship, they have eight slots to use, six of which are all-purpose cargo slots, allowing for unparalleled levels of preparation.
History and Trivia
The Cargo Ship is also occasionally referred to as the Collier, both by the Anno team and by in-game voice lines or quest descriptions. Colliers are ships dedicated to carrying coal.
The first commercially successful steam-powered transport ship was the North River Steamboat, launched in 1807. Ocean trade would continue to be dominated by sail power until the second half of the century, as steamship technology became more powerful and economical and the opening of the Suez Canal obsoleted the need for ultrafast sail transportation.
Modern cargo ships do not move much faster than the fastest sail transport ships on average; as a result, proposals have been created to reintroduce some sail power to cargo ships to reduce fossil fuel use.
Union Update 2 (May 15, 2019):
- Hitpoints buffed from 3500 to 4000
Game Update 5 (September 10, 2019):
- Purchase price increased from 27k to 300k (official patch notes noted 30k as the previous price)
- Selling proceeds increased from 27k to 150k