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Cargo Ships or Freight Ships are a recurring mode of industrial transportation, first seen in SimCity 4. The purpose of these ships are to move goods produced by industries within your city outside for trade with other cities. 

SimCity 4

Like the cruise ship, cargo ships are one of the few marine transport vehicles that are not UDI capable, although with mods it is possible to pilot one. Like taxis, they are purely for asthetics, and do not serve a pratical purpose in-game. At least one port must be built in order for a cargo ship to spawn in the water. As well, it is one of the strongest ships in the game; smaller boats may sink upon hitting it once.

Trivia

  • Cargo is never seen being loaded/unloaded onto the ship, nor does cargo actually appear aboard the ship when it sails off.
  • The ship respawns at the port if it leaves the map or reaches a dead end.
  • The same easter egg logo on the blimp can sometimes be seen on a cargo ship.

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