Break Bulk Cargo

Traditional method of moving general cargo across the world’s oceans is piecemeal, the modern term being break-bulk. Carrying vessels are laden with individual items, eg: a motor-car, or pieces of machinery, bags, bales, casks, chests, small dry-bulk lots or small quantities of liquids in special tanks. Heavy items may be lifted onboard or ashore by shore cranes or ship’s gear, and one or more hatchways may be large enough to accommodate long pieces of certain goods such as steel. The problems associated with such a diverse make-up of cargo are considerable: Ship Safety: Ships carrying general cargo must be carefully laden in such a way that they are safe at sea. Thus, not only must goods be securely fitted into decks and compartments so they do not shift during passage, but attention must equally be given to a ship’s centre of gravity and to its metacentric height. (the point in a floating body above its centre of gravity, on the position of which its stability depends) heavier items of cargo being placed towards the lower regions of a vessel where practicable. Careful attention must also be given to longitudinal distribution. particularly to stresses placed on a vessel’s hull, and to her trim fore and aft, at the same time avoiding listing to port or to starboard. Cargo Safety: Careful attention must also be paid to the relative locations of various commodities. Obviously, heavy goods stowed above lighter commodities may be expected to result in crushing of the lower items, whilst goods prone to leakage (eg: drums) and/or to melting (eg: pitch in blocks) should be placed at deck level and not above other goods. Articles liable to melt or to be otherwise affected by heat should be stowed away from areas such as engine-room bulkheads which may become warm, whilst certain cargoes liable to emit strong odours should be stowed clear of more delicate goods that may be affected by taint. Commodities liable to spontaneous combustion should be accessible, whilst securing of goods should be given close attention so as to avoid damage to cargo and/or ship during adverse weather or sea conditions.