Definition of tonnage in English:



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

    ‘road convoys carry more tonnage’
    • ‘In October and November 1944, Harris's force dropped more than 60% of their bomb tonnage on German cities.’
    • ‘By then, New York City was handling more tonnage than Boston, Baltimore, and New Orleans combined.’
    • ‘According to U.S. Army figures, 70% of the bulk tonnage required to sustain a military force in the battlefield is fuel.’
    • ‘At least 5000 tons of bombs were dropped, the greatest tonnage in one night so far in the war.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Next month we'll be dropping twice the tonnage of bombs we are dropping this month.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Overall tonnage at Tilbury increased under his tenure from 6m tonnes in 1995 to 9.5m tonnes, while the workforce stayed at around 800.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He said highways engineers had looked at the bridge on the lane and maintained it could take ‘two-way traffic’ and extra tonnage.’
    • ‘Railroads carried much more tonnage than wagons.’
    heaviness, mass, load, burden, pressure, force
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1The 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Included are ship names, ship captains, merchants, tonnage, disembarkation port, and dates of departure and arrival.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In 1880 alone the port attracted 549 vessels with a total tonnage of 90,932.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The ships on both these routes are the world's largest cruise ferries with gross register tonnages approaching 60,000.’
      • ‘Such a charge is based on a vessel's gross registered tonnage as a practical approximation to recover the costs associated with delivered benefits.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 1.2Shipping considered in terms of total carrying capacity.
      ‘the European Community's total 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.’
      • ‘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 has been the world's top port in terms of shipping tonnage in the past decade or more.’
      • ‘Singapore port is set to retain its position as the world's busiest port in terms of shipping tonnage for the 14th year running.’
      • ‘The total tonnage handled by the 13 minor ports came to just 100,000 last year, whereas Kochi handled 12.8 million tonnes.’
      • ‘Though the total British tonnage continued to increase, as a proportion of the world's shipping it fell steadily.’
      • ‘The whole issue came to light recently when it emerged that Ireland had exceeded its European level of tonnage.’
      • ‘In terms of tonnage, about 30 per cent of the world's merchant fleet is registered in Panama or Liberia.’
      • ‘No statistic better illustrates Marblehead's decline than comparisons of shipping tonnage before and after the war.’
      • ‘Bantry Bay is the third biggest port in the country in terms of tonnage.’
      • ‘This position would soon improve, since the United States had, thanks to Theodore Roosevelt, more tonnage under construction than any other country except Britain.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Chinese-owned steamship tonnage was reckoned in 1935 at 675,000 tons.’
      • ‘They produced at least one-third of British tonnage - mostly specialist vessels - every year from 1870 to 1914.’
      • ‘EU policy required the fleet to be kept at a certain engine size and tonnage.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’


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