Definition of tonnage in English:



mass noun
  • 1Weight in tons, especially of cargo or freight.

    ‘road convoys carry more tonnage’
    • ‘The quarterly results were helped by a surge in March when there was double digit month-on-month growth in both the number of passengers and cargo tonnage.’
    • ‘Most histories of the air war focus on the bombing of North Vietnam; yet the United States dropped far more tonnage in the South over the course of the war.’
    • ‘At least 5000 tons of bombs were dropped, the greatest tonnage in one night so far in the war.’
    • ‘Total tonnages of all grains for the region by the end of last week stood at 208,000 tonnes.’
    • ‘The drop in dry cargo tonnage was disappointing but you can't legislate for bad harvests.’
    • ‘Next month we'll be dropping twice the tonnage of bombs we are dropping this month.’
    • ‘In October and November 1944, Harris's force dropped more than 60% of their bomb tonnage on German cities.’
    • ‘In tonnage alone, more bombs were dropped on Laos, a compact nation about the size of Oklahoma, than on Germany and Japan combined during World War II.’
    • ‘Some truckers have been known to convey cargo up to the Zambian frontier in small loads to respect the stipulated tonnage allowed on the road in the neighbouring countries.’
    • ‘Adding the tonnage moved by scheduled carriers to that by private operators finally produces an estimate of the overall total tonnage of freight on the roads.’
    • ‘Cargo tonnage also rose by 2.9 per cent in May, with 15, 801 tonnes handled by the airport.’
    • ‘Railroads carried much more tonnage than wagons.’
    • ‘Two thirds of the bomb tonnage of the five year air war fell in February, March and April of 1945, most of it on militarily insignificant targets.’
    • ‘Based on advice from the Land Transport Safety Authority, I am satisfied that the East Coast main trunk line carrying tonnage to and from the Port of Tauranga is safe.’
    • ‘In the United States today, common carrier and private trucking fleets transport about two-thirds of all freight tonnage and, thus, play a critical role in the economy.’
    • ‘By then, New York City was handling more tonnage than Boston, Baltimore, and New Orleans combined.’
    • ‘In 1959 freight tonnage reached an all-time high, and decline followed caused in part by the building of the Trans Canada Highway through the area in 1960.’
    • ‘He said highways engineers had looked at the bridge on the lane and maintained it could take ‘two-way traffic’ and extra tonnage.’
    • ‘Overall tonnage at Tilbury increased under his tenure from 6m tonnes in 1995 to 9.5m tonnes, while the workforce stayed at around 800.’
    • ‘According to U.S. Army figures, 70% of the bulk tonnage required to sustain a military force in the battlefield is fuel.’
    heaviness, mass, load, burden, pressure, force
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    1. 1.1 The size or carrying capacity of a ship measured in tons.
      ‘a galleon of greater tonnage than any ship Kit had sailed’
      count noun ‘a ship with a gross tonnage of 552’
      • ‘The naval aviation managed to sink 19 ships and vessels, including the Pelagos, a tanker whose tonnage exceeded 12,000 grt, which made it the biggest ship sunk in the Polar Regions.’
      • ‘Under EU regulations, a new vessel can only be introduced into a national fleet after its equivalent, in terms of tonnage and power, is replaced.’
      • ‘In 1880 alone the port attracted 549 vessels with a total tonnage of 90,932.’
      • ‘The ships on both these routes are the world's largest cruise ferries with gross register tonnages approaching 60,000.’
      • ‘The Landing Ship Infantry Empire Broadsword was built in Wilmington, USA in 1942, gross tonnage 7177 tons, and given to Britain as part of Lend Lease.’
      • ‘Included are ship names, ship captains, merchants, tonnage, disembarkation port, and dates of departure and arrival.’
      • ‘Such a charge is based on a vessel's gross registered tonnage as a practical approximation to recover the costs associated with delivered benefits.’
      • ‘They can supply details such as the name, tonnage, date of sinking and depth of wreck of any vessel sunk since 1913.’
      • ‘The Prince Rupert had a net registered tonnage of 1,172 tons.’
      • ‘The book includes a host of pictures and an extensive listing of ships that served in the Transport Service, often including their date of purchase, tonnage, and dates of service.’
      • ‘Japanese coast guard officials said the ship's registry gave the vessel's tonnage at 243 ton gross tons and indicates that it had previously sailed to Japan.’
      • ‘It led to a doubling of the number of fishermen, and an increase of 65 per cent in fleet tonnage and of 45 per cent in production.’
      • ‘The owner is entitled to limit his liability, according to a formula related to the tonnage of the ship, and to an overall total, currently £12 million under the 1969 Convention.’
      • ‘Before 1836 the registered tonnage of sailing ships was a notional figure calculated by a formula based on the length, breadth and depth of the hold.’
      • ‘Now, unlike the master shipbuilders of the Mediterranean civilizations, the Viking shipwrights didn't think in terms of cargo tonnage, military logistics, or naval tactics.’
      • ‘The average tonnage was around thirteen tons, with the bulk of the vessels either fourteen or twenty tons with an upper limit of twenty-eight tons.’
      • ‘Prior to this only ships of low tonnage and shallow draught had been able to cross the sand bar at the entrance to the bay.’
      value, amount, quantity, area, length, height, depth, weight, width, range, acreage, footage, mileage
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    2. 1.2 Shipping considered in terms of total carrying capacity.
      ‘the European Community's total tonnage’
      • ‘EU policy required the fleet to be kept at a certain engine size and tonnage.’
      • ‘In terms of tonnage, about 30 per cent of the world's merchant fleet is registered in Panama or Liberia.’
      • ‘Though the total British tonnage continued to increase, as a proportion of the world's shipping it fell steadily.’
      • ‘The total tonnage handled by the 13 minor ports came to just 100,000 last year, whereas Kochi handled 12.8 million tonnes.’
      • ‘Singapore has been the world's top port in terms of shipping tonnage in the past decade or more.’
      • ‘Even though US shipyards were beginning to produce new merchant ships in record numbers, there was still a drop in overall available merchant and tanker tonnage.’
      • ‘Bantry Bay is the third biggest port in the country in terms of tonnage.’
      • ‘The ship will serve to lift capability in a broad range of scenarios and this is expected to lead to the acquisition of more tonnage in the future.’
      • ‘Immingham, on the south bank of the estuary, is the seventh biggest general port in Europe and the biggest in Britain in terms of tonnage.’
      • ‘They produced at least one-third of British tonnage - mostly specialist vessels - every year from 1870 to 1914.’
      • ‘The port was the fastest growing in terms of tonnage handled on the U.S. East Coast, outperforming Philadelphia, New York, and Hampton Roads / Norfolk.’
      • ‘The whole issue came to light recently when it emerged that Ireland had exceeded its European level of tonnage.’
      • ‘Chinese-owned steamship tonnage was reckoned in 1935 at 675,000 tons.’
      • ‘This position would soon improve, since the United States had, thanks to Theodore Roosevelt, more tonnage under construction than any other country except Britain.’
      • ‘No statistic better illustrates Marblehead's decline than comparisons of shipping tonnage before and after the war.’
      • ‘Ironically, in a reversal of fortune particularly bitter for Chicago, the port of St Louis surpassed it in terms of tonnage handled in 1984.’
      • ‘Singapore port is set to retain its position as the world's busiest port in terms of shipping tonnage for the 14th year running.’


Early 17th century (denoting a charge per ton on cargo): from ton + -age.