Corn (Maize) Stowage Factor

Corn (Maize) Stowage Factor

Corn (Maize):  Also known as Indian corn and widely-grown in Southern Africa, the Far East, South America and the USA.

Apart from its value as a foodstuff, Corn (Maize) has various industrial applications such as starch, and is rich in glucose.

Corn-gluten feed pellets being a by-product are used as an animal feed which is highly regarded for its gluten protein.

Corn (Maize) Shipping

Corn (Maize) is particularly liable to heat and to sweat, especially as a result of poor handling prior to shipment.


Corn (Maize) Stowage Factor:

  • Bulk Corn (Maize) Stowage Factor 47/52
  • Bagged Corn (Maize) Stowage Factor 52/55
  • Corn Gluten Feed Pellets Bulk Stowage Factor 58/60


The stowage factor of a commodity like corn (maize) is an essential piece of information in shipping and logistics. It refers to the volume occupied by a unit weight of the cargo and is usually expressed in cubic meters per metric ton (m³/ton) or cubic feet per ton. The stowage factor is used to calculate the total volume of cargo space required for a given weight of the cargo.

For corn (maize), the stowage factor can vary depending on several factors, such as the moisture content of the corn, whether it’s being shipped as bulk or bagged, and the packing density. However, generally speaking:

  • The stowage factor for bulk corn (maize) typically ranges from 1.25 to 1.4 cubic meters per metric ton (m³/ton). This can vary slightly based on the specific conditions mentioned above.
  • In cubic feet per ton, this range translates approximately to 44 to 49 cubic feet per ton.

These figures are indicative and can vary in real-world conditions. It’s always advisable to refer to specific shipping documents or consult with shipping professionals for precise calculations, especially when planning for the transportation of large quantities of corn. Accurate stowage factor calculations are crucial for optimizing cargo space, ensuring the safety of the ship, and maintaining the integrity of the cargo during transportation.


Additional Considerations for Corn Stowage Factor

  1. Moisture Content: The moisture content of corn can significantly affect its stowage factor. Higher moisture content can lead to a higher stowage factor as the corn may clump together, taking up more space. Conversely, drier corn may have a lower stowage factor.
  2. Packing Method: The way corn is packed for shipment also influences its stowage factor. Bulk corn typically has a lower stowage factor compared to bagged corn, as bulk cargo can be more densely packed.
  3. Grain Size and Variety: Different varieties of corn and the size of the grains can also impact the stowage factor. Smaller grain sizes may pack more densely, leading to a lower stowage factor.
  4. Compaction During Transport: During the transportation process, particularly in long voyages, the corn may settle and compact, potentially altering the stowage factor as the journey progresses.
  5. Temperature and Humidity Conditions: The environmental conditions during transport, like temperature and humidity, can affect the corn’s physical properties and therefore its stowage factor.
  6. Handling and Loading Techniques: The methods used for handling and loading the corn onto the ship can also play a role. Efficient loading techniques may reduce the stowage factor by minimizing unused space.

Practical Implications

  • Space Calculation: Understanding the stowage factor is crucial for accurately calculating the amount of space needed on a ship, which is essential for logistics planning and cost estimation.
  • Safety Considerations: Proper stowage is vital for maintaining the ship’s stability and safety at sea. An accurate stowage factor helps ensure that the cargo’s weight and volume are appropriately distributed.
  • Cost Efficiency: For charterers and shipowners, the stowage factor directly impacts the cost-effectiveness of shipping operations. Optimizing cargo space usage can lead to significant savings and more efficient shipping operations.
  • Contractual and Documentation Accuracy: The stowage factor is often an important detail in shipping contracts and documentation. Accurate figures are essential for legal and operational clarity.

Given these variables, it’s always recommended to use the stowage factor as a guideline and adjust based on the specific characteristics of the corn being shipped and the conditions of transport. In professional shipping contexts, the stowage factor is often determined through direct measurement or consultation with agricultural and shipping experts.

Additional Aspects Affecting Corn Stowage

  1. Condition of the Cargo Hold: The condition and cleanliness of the cargo hold can impact the effective stowage factor. Residues from previous cargoes or the design of the hold can affect how densely corn can be packed.
  2. Ventilation Requirements: Corn, being an organic commodity, requires proper ventilation during transport to prevent spoilage and moisture accumulation. This requirement can influence how the corn is stowed and, consequently, its stowage factor.
  3. Risk of Shifting: Especially in rough seas, the risk of cargo shifting can be a concern. This risk might require additional space or specific stowage arrangements to ensure safety, potentially affecting the stowage factor.
  4. Insurance and Liability: Accurate stowage factor calculation is important for insurance and liability reasons. Incorrect calculations can lead to disputes or claims if the cargo is damaged or if there are issues with the ship’s stability.

Broader Implications in Shipping and Trade

  • Impact on Shipping Rates: The stowage factor can directly influence shipping rates. Higher stowage factors generally mean more space is required per ton, potentially increasing the cost of transportation.
  • Trade and Market Dynamics: For commodities like corn, the stowage factor can have broader implications in international trade. It can impact the cost-effectiveness of exporting corn from one region to another, thereby influencing market dynamics and trade flows.
  • Environmental Considerations: Efficient stowage, guided by accurate stowage factor calculations, can contribute to more environmentally friendly shipping practices by optimizing ship capacity and reducing the number of voyages required.
  • Compliance with Regulations: Proper stowage in compliance with maritime safety regulations is essential. The stowage factor plays a role in ensuring compliance, particularly with regulations concerning the carriage of bulk cargoes.

The stowage factor is a dynamic and critical element in the shipping of bulk commodities like corn. Its accurate assessment requires consideration of a range of factors, from the physical properties of the corn to the conditions of transport and international trade implications. For all parties involved in the shipping of corn, from farmers and exporters to shipping companies and insurers, understanding and effectively applying the stowage factor is key to successful, safe, and cost-effective maritime transport operations.

We kindly suggest that you check Bulk Corn Shipping
and Bulk Maize Shipping