Dry Cargo Operations

Dry cargo market serves the needs of charterers in need of dry bulk cargo transportation. Dry cargo market is served by shipowners of bulk carriers. Ships in the dry cargo market may be classified according to ship size (deadweight capacity). Several types of bulk cargoes are carried in bulkers (dry cargo ships). Major dry bulk cargoes:

  • Iron Ore
  • Coal
  • Grains
  • Bauxite and Alumina
  • Fertilizers

Parcel size of a cargo determines the allocation of which cargoes are carried in which ships. Parcel size is affected by:

  • Demand for the cargo
  • Geographical distance between the place of production and consumption of the cargo

Bigger cargo parcel size can command economies of scale by virtue of being carried in bigger ships.

Dry bulk carrier is designed to carry its bulk cargo in several holds. Ship holds are designed and configured to ensure the stability of the ship and minimize the need for trimming the bulk cargo. Hold frames and hoppers at the top and bottom of the holds fulfill the aforementioned objectives. Frames in the holds may be placed in between the double hull design, ensuring that the ship is easier to clean while maintaining safety and strength. Ship holds are also equipped with hydraulic hatch covers that may be rolled for opening and closing of the hatches to allow loading and unloading operations to take place.

Some dry cargo operations are time consuming. Master and terminal operators agree on a detailed plan for loading and unloading according to international regulations. Advanced ports have equipment such as conveyor belts, pneumatic systems and gantry cranes which allows fast loading and/or unloading of bulk cargo. After unloading a ship, holds must be cleaned in order to load the next cargo and avoid the risk of contamination.

For the purposes of chartering ships, ship’s important characteristics:

  • Deadweight (DWT)
  • Net Tons (NT) and Gross Tons (GT)
  • Length Overall (LOA) and Beam
  • Draft
  • Bunkers (Fuel) Consumption and Speed (Ballast/Laden)
  • Grain Capacity and Bale Capacity

It is really important that the ship’s characteristics are written precisely on the charter-party so as to avoid any misunderstanding between shipowners and charterers. Any deviation on the agreed-upon ship’s characteristics may result in the cancellation of the charter party.