Bulk Sugar Shipping
Seaborne sugar comes mainly from the raw products of sugar cane grown in tropical climes, shipped usually in bulk but sometimes in bags; from bagged, Refined Sugar (White Sugar); and, occasionally from either Raw Sugar obtained from the sugar beet plant grown in cooler regions, or in the form of sugar beet pulp pellets carried normally in bulk. The trade is erratic and widespread.
Main exporters of Raw Sugar include Brazil and the Caribbean Countries, The Philippines, Mauritius and Reunion, East Africa, Australia, and Fiji. Importers are worldwide.
Facilities at the discharging end permit, the cargo will normally be carried in bulk, although certain countries lack either shoreside equipment and/or the infrastructure to receive sugar in this manner, and can handle only Raw Sugar in bags.
The carriage of Bulk Refined Sugar (White Sugar) is rare because of the likelihood of contamination, and perhaps of infestation.
Consequently, almost all Refined Sugar (White Sugar) shipments are in bagged form in 50 kgs units, which has been found a convenient handling size.
Nowadays, Bulk Raw Sugar is usually loaded mechanically via a moveable spout or a fixed spout with spreaders, which as for loading grain, greatly facilitates the trimming of cargo.
The holds into which Bulk Raw Sugar is loaded should be clean, dry, and rust-free, odorless, (sugar can easily taint), and uninfested by insects.
When at sea, ventilation should be restricted as excess air causes sugar to soften. The shortage of ventilation however, may create the build-up of carbon dioxide gas, so entry to cargo spaces should be exercised with care.
Too much heat should be avoided, as if overheated, sugar will harden; but too cold and the sugar content diminishes. Obviously, ships’ masters will need to exercise skill if the cargo is to arrive in good condition.
Unloading of Raw Sugar is normally effected by grabs. Thus the carrying ship must be suitable for grab-discharge, most sugar Sugar Shipping Charter-parties (Sugar Shipping Contracts) being very explicit on a ship’s suitability to carry sugar in bulk, the USA Bulk Sugar Charterparty stating, for example:
- Cargo shall be stowed only in areas in which grabs, drags and mobile equipment can operate freely. Sugar shall not be stowed in the lower holds of the forward and after hatches unless the recesses at the extremities of those holds are completely blocked off to full height by suitable, strong, and sugar-tight bulkheads. If cargo is stowed in the tween deck above a lower hold contain-no sugar. the hatch opening shall be securely and completely closed and covered with a one-quarter inch steel plate welded to the deck, or with lumber of sufficient thickness and strength, to form an even working surface, sugar-tight and sufficiently strong to support cargo and to resist damage by bulldozers, marine leg elevators and all other equipment used in discharge.
- Cargo shall be distributed among hatches so that two discharging rigs can operate simultaneously at all times during discharge. If loading is performed by bleeding bags into the hold the number of hatches used shall be such as to permit the simultaneous working of not less than four stevedoring gangs. If loading is performed by mechanical means at a bulk sugar terminal the number of hatches available shall not be less than two. If the required number of hatches are not available laytime shall be adjusted in accordance with the provisions of Paragraph 17 hereof.
- No sugar shall be stowed in areas such as deep tanks, refrigerator hatches, or other unusual places that are inaccessible to Receiver’s discharging equipment.
- Holds shall be sealed and not ventilated during transit unless in the opinion of the Master
compliance with this provision endangers the safety of the Ship.
The loading of Bulk Raw Sugar was once a slow operation as it may still be at non-mechanical ports, in-taken tonnages of around 500 to 1,000 tonnes per day being an average.
Now, mechanical equipment is fitted however, it is still traditional to fix the loading rate at previous prevailing levels, even though the capacity is so much faster. Consequently, this may give rise to large sums of Despatch Money payable to charterers.
The overall saving in loading days and the subsequent payment of Despatch Money dramatically alters voyage estimates based on full laytime being used for loading and must be taken into consideration when fixing such business, often the Despatch Money rate at the loading port being kept artificially low, perhaps lower than at the discharging end.
Sugar Shipping Charterparty (Sugar Shipping Contract)
Unlike grain Charter Parties, Sugar Shipping Charterparties (Sugar Shipping Contracts) are specialized forms dealing with bulk sugar reflect both loading and discharging areas, with one general-purpose form, prominent among these being:
- General Sugar Charter Party: Sugar C/P 1969 – Revised 1977
- Sugar to USA: Bulk Sugar Charter Party USA – 1962 – Revised 1968
- Sugar From Australia: Australia Sugar Charter Party 1957
- Sugar From Fiji: Fiji Sugar Charter Party 1977
- Sugar From Mauritius: Mauritius Bulk Sugar Charter Party – MSS FORM
- Sugar From Cuba: Cuba Sugar Charter Party 1973
Sugar Stowage Factor
- Bulk Sugar Stowage Factor 40/43
- Bagged Sugar Stowage Factor 48/53
- Baled Beet Pulp Pellets 55/65
What is ICUMSA in Sugar?
ICUMSA, which stands for the International Commission for Uniform Methods of Sugar Analysis, is an international organization that develops standardized methods for analyzing sugar and sugar products. Founded in 1897, ICUMSA aims to provide consistent, reliable, and universally accepted methods of sugar analysis to facilitate international trade and ensure the quality and safety of sugar and related products.
One of the key contributions of ICUMSA is the development of the ICUMSA color scale, which is widely used to measure the color and purity of sugar. The ICUMSA color scale ranges from ICUMSA 45 (the purest, lightest color) to ICUMSA 1800 (the darkest, least pure), with lower numbers indicating higher purity and lighter color. This scale is particularly relevant for raw and refined sugar, as it helps classify sugar based on its degree of refinement and quality.
In addition to the color scale, ICUMSA has established various methods for analyzing different aspects of sugar quality, such as sucrose content, moisture content, ash content, and turbidity. These methods are used by sugar producers, traders, and regulatory authorities to ensure that sugar products meet international quality standards and are safe for consumption.
By providing standardized methods for sugar analysis, ICUMSA plays a crucial role in promoting international trade, ensuring consumer safety, and facilitating the accurate comparison of sugar products from different sources.
Bulk Sugar Shipping
Bulk sugar shipping involves the transportation of large quantities of sugar in bulk cargo ships. Sugar is a widely used sweetener and an essential commodity in the global food industry. Efficient and safe transportation of sugar is crucial to ensure a consistent supply to various markets and support the global demand for sweeteners.
Key aspects of bulk sugar shipping include:
- Bulk Sugar Shipping Ship Type: Sugar is typically transported in bulk carriers, which are ships designed to carry dry bulk cargo such as grains, coal, and ores. These ships have large cargo holds and are equipped with specialized gear and equipment to facilitate the loading, stowage, and unloading of sugar.
- Bulk Sugar Loading: Loading bulk sugar onto a ship requires specialized equipment and procedures to prevent contamination and minimize the risk of damage to the cargo. Sugar is often loaded using conveyor belts, grabs, or pneumatic systems that transfer the sugar from storage facilities or trucks to the ship’s cargo holds.
- Bulk Sugar Stowage: Bulk sugar is a relatively high-density cargo with a stowage factor that typically ranges from 1.35 to 1.45 m3/MT (47.7 to 51.2 ft3/LT). This means that it takes up a relatively small amount of space in the cargo hold, allowing for efficient use of the ship’s capacity. During stowage, the sugar must be evenly distributed in the cargo holds to prevent cargo shift and ensure the ship’s stability during transit.
- Bulk Sugar Shipping Safety and Hygiene: The transportation of sugar presents several safety and hygiene considerations. Sugar is a hygroscopic material, meaning it can absorb moisture from the air, which can lead to caking and spoilage. Proper ventilation and moisture control systems are essential to prevent these issues. Additionally, the cargo holds and loading equipment must be clean and free from contamination to ensure the quality and safety of the sugar.
- Bulk Sugar Unloading: At the destination port, the sugar is typically unloaded using specialized equipment, such as grabs, conveyor belts, or pneumatic systems, which transfer the sugar from the ship’s cargo holds to storage facilities or directly to trucks or railcars for further distribution. The unloading process must be carefully managed to prevent contamination and ensure the quality of the sugar.
Bulk sugar shipping is an essential component of the global sugar trade, enabling the efficient and safe transportation of large quantities of sugar to support the food and beverage industries worldwide. Proper handling and stowage techniques, as well as attention to safety and hygiene, are crucial to ensure the successful delivery of this vital commodity.
Types of Sugar
Here are some common types of sugar:
- Granulated sugar: Also known as table sugar or white sugar, granulated sugar is the most commonly used sugar in households and commercial food production. It is made from sugar cane or sugar beet and undergoes a refining process to remove impurities and produce fine, white sugar crystals.
- Caster sugar: Caster sugar, also known as superfine sugar or baker’s sugar, is a more finely ground version of granulated sugar. It dissolves more quickly, making it ideal for use in recipes that require a smooth texture, such as meringues, custards, and some baked goods.
- Powdered sugar: Powdered sugar, also known as confectioners’ sugar or icing sugar, is granulated sugar that has been ground into a fine powder and typically mixed with a small amount of cornstarch to prevent clumping. It is used for making icings, frostings, and dusting on baked goods for decoration.
- Brown sugar: Brown sugar is a moist, granulated sugar that contains varying amounts of molasses, which gives it its distinctive color and flavor. It comes in light and dark varieties, with the darker version having a stronger molasses flavor. Brown sugar is commonly used in baking, sauces, and glazes.
- Turbinado sugar: Turbinado sugar, also known as raw sugar or sugar in the raw, is made from partially refined sugar cane. It has larger, coarser crystals and a light golden color due to the presence of molasses. It is often used as a topping for baked goods or as a sweetener for beverages.
- Demerara sugar: Demerara sugar is a type of raw sugar with large, amber-colored crystals and a crunchy texture. It is made from partially refined sugar cane and has a subtle molasses flavor. Demerara sugar is often used in baking, as a topping for desserts, and as a sweetener for coffee and tea.
- Muscovado sugar: Muscovado sugar, also known as Barbados sugar or moist sugar, is a dark, unrefined sugar with a strong molasses flavor and a sticky texture. It is made by evaporating sugar cane juice and contains more natural molasses than other sugar types. Muscovado sugar is often used in recipes that call for a rich, deep flavor, such as gingerbread, barbecue sauces, and marinades.
- Palm sugar: Palm sugar is derived from the sap of various palm trees, such as the sugar palm and the coconut palm. It is typically sold in solid blocks or as a granulated sugar and has a caramel-like flavor. Palm sugar is commonly used in Asian cuisine, particularly in Southeast Asian dishes like curries and desserts.
Bulk Sugar Handling
Key aspects of bulk sugar handling include:
- Bulk Sugar Loading: Loading bulk sugar onto a ship, truck, or train requires specialized equipment and procedures to prevent contamination and minimize the risk of damage to the cargo. Sugar is often loaded using conveyor belts, grabs, or pneumatic systems that transfer the sugar from storage facilities or trucks to the ship’s cargo holds, train cars, or trucks.
- Bulk Sugar Storage: Bulk sugar is typically stored in large storage facilities, such as silos, warehouses, or sugar sheds, which are designed to protect the sugar from moisture, pests, and other contaminants. Proper ventilation and moisture control systems are essential to prevent caking, spoilage, and maintain the quality of the sugar.
- Bulk Sugar Transportation: Bulk sugar is transported in specialized ships, trucks, or train cars designed for handling dry bulk cargo. In maritime transport, bulk carriers with large cargo holds and specialized gear are commonly used for sugar shipments. Trucks and trains are often used for inland transportation to move sugar from storage facilities to processing plants or distribution centers.
- Bulk Sugar Unloading: At the destination, the sugar is typically unloaded using specialized equipment, such as grabs, conveyor belts, or pneumatic systems, which transfer the sugar from the ship’s cargo holds, trucks, or train cars to storage facilities or directly to processing plants. The unloading process must be carefully managed to prevent contamination and ensure the quality of the sugar.
- Safety and Hygiene: The transportation and handling of sugar present several safety and hygiene considerations. Sugar is a hygroscopic material, meaning it can absorb moisture from the air, which can lead to caking and spoilage. Proper ventilation and moisture control systems, as well as clean and well-maintained equipment, are essential to prevent these issues. Additionally, handling procedures must adhere to relevant food safety regulations to ensure the quality and safety of the sugar.
- Bulk Sugar Logistics: Effective logistics management is crucial for the efficient handling of bulk sugar, as it involves coordinating the movement of sugar between various stages of the supply chain, including storage, transportation, and processing. This often requires close collaboration between various stakeholders, such as sugar producers, traders, transportation companies, and regulatory authorities.
Bulk sugar handling is a vital component of the global sugar trade, enabling the efficient and safe movement of large quantities of sugar to meet the demands of the food and beverage industries worldwide. Proper handling procedures, attention to safety and hygiene, and effective logistics management are crucial to ensure the successful delivery of this essential commodity.
What is the Angle of Repose for Bulk Sugar?
The angle of repose for bulk sugar can vary depending on factors such as the sugar’s particle size, shape, and moisture content. Generally, the angle of repose for bulk sugar ranges from 28 to 45 degrees. This means that when bulk sugar is piled, the slope of the pile’s surface will form an angle between 28 and 45 degrees with the horizontal plane.
It is important to consider the angle of repose when planning the stowage and transportation of bulk sugar to ensure the cargo remains stable during loading, transport, and unloading. Proper stowage planning, taking into account the angle of repose, can help prevent cargo shifting or collapsing, which can lead to damage, loss, or safety hazards.
Top Sugar Exporting Countries
While the rankings may change slightly from year to year, the following countries are among the top sugar exporters:
- Brazil: Brazil is the world’s largest sugar producer and exporter, thanks to its favorable climate, vast land area, and advanced sugar industry. The country is home to numerous sugar mills and refineries and exports sugar mainly in the form of raw and refined sugar.
- Thailand: Thailand is a significant sugar exporter, with a well-developed sugar industry supported by its tropical climate and abundant sugar cane production. The country exports sugar in various forms, including raw, white, and refined sugar.
- India: India is a major sugar exporter and one of the largest sugar producers globally. With a large domestic sugar industry and a massive sugar cane cultivation area, the country exports sugar in the form of raw, white, and refined sugar.
- Australia: Australia is a significant sugar exporter, with a well-established sugar industry in the coastal regions of Queensland and northern New South Wales. The country’s sugar production primarily comes from sugar cane, and it exports raw and refined sugar.
- Guatemala: Guatemala is an important sugar exporter in Central America, with a well-developed sugar industry supported by its tropical climate and fertile land. The country exports raw and refined sugar to various international markets.
- Mexico: Mexico is a notable sugar exporter, with a sugar industry based on both sugar cane and sugar beet production. The country exports sugar in various forms, including raw, white, and refined sugar.
- South Africa: South Africa is a significant sugar exporter on the African continent, with a sugar industry primarily based on sugar cane production. The country exports raw and refined sugar to various international markets.
- Colombia: Colombia is an important sugar exporter in South America, with a well-developed sugar industry supported by its tropical climate and fertile land. The country exports raw and refined sugar to various international markets.
These countries play a crucial role in the global sugar trade, ensuring the availability of sugar for various food and beverage products worldwide. Their well-developed sugar industries and infrastructure enable them to produce and export large quantities of sugar to meet the global demand.
Top Sugar Traders in the World
Sugar Traders facilitate international trade by connecting producers with markets and buyers, ensuring a consistent supply of sugar worldwide. While the list of top sugar traders may change over time, some of the key players in the industry include:
- Cargill: Cargill is a multinational agricultural commodities trading company based in the United States. It is one of the largest and most diversified traders in the global sugar market, dealing in both sugar cane and sugar beet products.
- Bunge: Bunge is another multinational agricultural commodities trading company with headquarters in the United States. It is involved in the trading of various sugar products, with a focus on raw and white sugar.
- Louis Dreyfus Company: Louis Dreyfus Company is a global merchant and processor of agricultural commodities, headquartered in the Netherlands. It has a significant presence in the sugar market, trading in various forms of sugar and related products.
- Sucden: Sucden is a French-based company that specializes in the trading of sugar, cocoa, and coffee. It is one of the leading sugar traders globally, with a strong presence in both the sugar cane and sugar beet markets.
- ED&F Man: ED&F Man is a UK-based commodities trading company with a significant focus on the sugar industry. It trades in various sugar products and offers a range of services, including risk management, logistics, and financing solutions.
- COFCO International: COFCO International is a Chinese state-owned agricultural commodities trading company with a growing presence in the global sugar market. It trades in various sugar products and has a strong focus on the Asian market.
- Alvean: Alvean is a joint venture between Cargill and Copersucar, a Brazilian sugar and ethanol company. It is one of the leading sugar traders globally, with a focus on raw sugar.
- Tereos: Tereos is a French sugar cooperative that has expanded its operations to become a significant player in the global sugar trade. The company trades in various sugar products, with a focus on sugar beet products.
These top sugar traders are essential to the global sugar trade, ensuring the efficient flow of sugar between producers and consumers. They play a crucial role in maintaining market stability and facilitating international trade, helping to meet the global demand for sugar and related products.