HSS Heavy Grains Soyabeans Sorghums

HSS Heavy Grains Soyabeans Sorghums

HSS: A shipping term covering (H) Heavy Grains, (S) Soyabeans and (S) Sorghums  (Kaffir or Kafficorn =  Sorghums)

  • Sorghums: The seeds of similar cane-like grasses such as milo and kaffir corn, exported principally from the USA, Australia and South America and largely carried in bulk.
  • Soyabeans: A widely cultivated plant, shipped extensively from the USA and South America, and imported throughout the World, particularly in the Far East and the EEe. The seeds can be used to supplement processed food as soya flour; as cattle fodder; even to aid the plastics industry; apart from the use of its oils for such as margarine.

HSS Bulk Stowage Factor:

  • HSS Bulk Stowage Factor 47/52
  • HSS Bagged Stowage Factor 52/54


Durrah: A kind of millet much cultivated in Asia and in Africa as a substitute for rice, being moved in bags over relatively short sea distances.

Durrah Bulk Stowage Factor:

  • Durrah Bulk Stowage Factor 47/48
  • Durrah Bagged Stowage Factor 59/61


Linseed: The versatile and widespread seed of the Flax plant, its oils being used in the manufacture of linoleum; for putty; as a preservative for wood; for liniments and mixing pigments

Linseed Bulk Stowage Factor:

  • Linseed Bulk Stowage Factor 50/55
  • Linseed Bagged Stowage Factor 55/60


Lupin: An increasingly popular, heavy stowing seed crop with a high protein content, useful as animal feed and capable of commercial growing throughout the arable world, a principal exporter being Australia.

Lupinseed Bulk Stowage Factor:

  • Lupinseed Bulk Stowage Factor 44/48

What is HSS in ship chartering?

“HSS” in the context of ship chartering related to specific commodities stands for “Heavy Grains, Soyabeans, Sorghums”

In the dry bulk shipping world, different commodities have different properties in terms of stowage factor, weight, safety considerations, etc. When it comes to charter parties (the contracts under which ships are chartered), certain clauses or provisions may be made based on the type of cargo being transported.

For instance, “HSS” cargoes like heavy grains, soyabeans, and sorghums might have specific requirements or considerations related to their stowage, ventilation, or even the speed and route of the ship. The term “HSS” thus helps in clarifying the type of commodity being transported, ensuring that both the shipowner and the charterer are on the same page regarding the nature of the cargo and any specific requirements or risks associated with it.

Considerations for HSS Cargoes in Ship Chartering:

1. Stowage and Compartmentalization: HSS cargoes, like other grains, can shift during transit if not stowed properly. This can lead to stability issues for the ship. Proper compartmentalization and stowage are essential to ensure the safety of the ship and the crew.

2. Ventilation: Grains, including HSS cargoes, are susceptible to spoilage if not properly ventilated during the voyage. Proper airflow is essential to prevent the buildup of heat and moisture, which can lead to the growth of mold or other contaminants.

3. Loading and Unloading: The process of loading and unloading HSS cargoes needs careful attention. Given the weight and bulkiness of such cargoes, the ship’s equipment, such as cranes or conveyors, must be in optimal condition to handle the loading and unloading efficiently and safely.

4. Charter Party Clauses: In the chartering world, the specific details and requirements related to transporting HSS cargoes would be laid out in the charter party. This is the contract between the shipowner and the charterer. These clauses would address the loading ports, discharge ports, laytime considerations, demurrage, dispatch, and any other relevant conditions or requirements.

5. Risk of Infestation: Grains are susceptible to infestation by pests. Proper fumigation might be required before loading to ensure the cargo remains pest-free during the voyage. Additionally, certain destination countries might have strict regulations and inspection procedures for imported grains to prevent the introduction of foreign pests.

6. Rate Considerations: The freight rates for shipping HSS cargoes might differ from other commodities based on the specific requirements and challenges associated with transporting them. These rates would be negotiated and agreed upon in the charter party.

7. Quality and Inspection: Depending on the destination, there might be quality inspections at both the loading and discharging ports to ensure the cargo meets the standards required by the buyer or the importing country. Any discrepancies in quality could lead to claims.

The transportation of HSS cargoes like heavy grains, soyabeans, and sorghums involves several unique considerations to ensure the safety of the ship, crew, and the quality of the cargo itself. Proper planning, adherence to the charter party terms, and understanding of the commodity are essential for a successful voyage.


Bulk HSS Shipping

“Bulk HSS Shipping” refers to the transportation of large quantities of “Heavy Grains, Soyabeans, Sorghums” (HSS) using bulk carriers. When transported in bulk, these cargoes are not packaged in bags, containers, or other forms of packaging, but rather are loaded directly into the ship’s holds.

Here’s an overview of the considerations and intricacies related to Bulk HSS Shipping:

1. Ship Types:

  • Handysize and Handymax: These are the most common types of bulk carriers used for transporting HSS cargoes due to their size and flexibility in accessing a variety of ports.
  • Panamax and New Panamax: Named because they are the maximum size to transit the Panama Canal, these larger ships might also be used for significant HSS shipments, particularly on longer routes such as from South America to Asia.

2. Key Considerations:

  • Stowage: Proper stowage is essential for the stability of the ship, especially when dealing with bulk grains which can shift during the voyage.
  • Ventilation: Ensuring the cargo holds have proper ventilation is crucial to prevent moisture and heat build-up which can degrade the quality of the grains.
  • Hygiene: The holds should be cleaned and possibly fumigated before loading to prevent contamination and pest infestations.

3. Ports & Infrastructure:

  • Deep-Water Terminals: Larger ships need deep-water ports for loading and unloading.
  • Specialized Terminals: Some ports have specialized grain terminals with the infrastructure designed for the efficient loading and unloading of bulk grains.

4. Trade Routes:

HSS cargoes are primarily exported from major grain-producing regions, including:

  • The Americas: Particularly the U.S. and Brazil.
  • Black Sea Region: Including countries like Russia and Ukraine.

These cargoes are often transported to regions with high demand for feed grains, including many countries in Asia and the Middle East.

5. Chartering:

When chartering a ship for HSS cargoes:

  • Laytime: It’s vital to negotiate an appropriate laytime for loading and unloading to avoid demurrage charges.
  • Freight Rates: These can be influenced by factors such as the global demand and supply of grains, seasonal variations, and geopolitical events.

6. Risks & Safety:

  • Liquefaction: If the moisture content is too high, grain cargoes can undergo a process called liquefaction, where they behave like a liquid. This can severely affect a ship’s stability.
  • Infestation: Grains can attract pests, so fumigation and other preventive measures are vital.

7. Regulatory Aspects:

Many countries have strict regulations concerning the import of grains to ensure they meet quality standards and are free from pests. Proper documentation and adherence to these standards are essential to avoid delays and potential fines.

Bulk HSS Shipping is a specialized segment of the maritime industry with its unique challenges and requirements. Effective coordination between shipowners, charterers, agents, and regulatory authorities is crucial for the smooth transportation of these essential commodities.


Bulk HSS Stowage Factor

  • HSS Bulk Stowage Factor 47/52
  • HSS Bagged Stowage Factor 52/54

The stowage factor (SF) of a cargo is an essential figure in maritime shipping. It indicates the number of cubic meters (or cubic feet) that one metric ton (or sometimes specified in long tons or short tons) of that particular cargo occupies in a hold, taking into consideration all the voids and spaces. The stowage factor is essential in the efficient planning of loading a ship to ensure optimal use of space.

For “Heavy Grains, Soyabeans, Sorghums” (HSS), the stowage factors can vary based on the specific type of grain, its condition, and how it’s prepared for shipment. Here are general stowage factors for these commodities:

  1. Heavy Grains:
    • Depending on the type of grain, the stowage factor can range from about 1.25 to 1.45 m³/t (cubic meters per metric ton).
  2. Soyabeans:
    • The stowage factor for soyabeans typically ranges from about 1.45 to 1.60 m³/t.
  3. Sorghums (or milo):
    • Sorghums have a stowage factor in the range of 1.30 to 1.45 m³/t.

However, it’s essential to note the following:

  • Moisture Content: The moisture content of the grains can influence the stowage factor. Wet grains can have a reduced stowage factor, meaning they will take up less space per ton, but this can introduce risks of shifting or liquefaction.
  • Loading Method: How the grains are loaded, either pneumatically or by other means, can impact how densely they settle in the hold.
  • Compaction: Over time, as the voyage progresses, some cargoes might settle or compact further, reducing their stowage factor.
  • Source & Destination: The stowage factor can also vary based on the source and the destination due to different handling, loading, and preparation methods.

Whenever involved in the shipment of HSS or any other bulk cargo, it’s crucial to refer to the specific stowage factor given in the charter party or the bill of lading, or provided by surveyors, as this will offer the most accurate figure for that particular shipment. Using the correct stowage factor is critical for optimizing the ship’s capacity, ensuring safety, and preventing overloading.


Bulk HSS Handling

Handling bulk HSS (Heavy Grains, Soyabeans, Sorghums) in maritime shipping involves specific procedures and equipment to ensure the cargo’s safety, maintain its quality, and optimize the loading/unloading process. Here’s an overview of the key aspects involved:

1. Pre-loading Preparations:

a. Hold Cleaning: Before loading HSS cargoes, the ship’s holds must be thoroughly cleaned to eliminate contaminants from previous cargoes. The holds should be free from rust, paint flakes, and residues.

b. Hold Inspection: Holds should be inspected for water tightness. Any signs of leakage or dampness should be addressed.

c. Fumigation: To prevent pest infestation, the holds might be fumigated before loading.

2. Loading Equipment:

a. Ship Loaders: These are large machines used at bulk terminals to load grains directly from storage or conveyors into the ship’s hold.

b. Conveyor Systems: Conveyor belts are often used to move the HSS from storage silos or warehouses to the loading area.

c. Grab Buckets: Especially in ports without specialized grain handling infrastructure, large grab buckets suspended from ship or shore cranes might be used to transfer grains.

3. Loading Procedures:

a. Trimming: As grains are poured into the hold, they might form peaks. Trimming is the process of leveling these peaks to ensure even distribution and stability.

b. Compaction: Care should be taken not to over-compact the grains, which can affect their quality.

c. Weight Monitoring: As the grains are loaded, the weight is closely monitored to ensure the ship is not overloaded and that the weight is distributed evenly.

4. During Transit:

a. Ventilation: Proper ventilation is vital to prevent the build-up of moisture and heat, which can spoil the grains.

b. Monitoring: Regular checks should be made to ensure there are no signs of spoilage, infestation, or other issues with the cargo.

c. Fumigation: Depending on the journey’s duration and the cargo’s condition, fumigation might be repeated during the voyage.

5. Unloading:

a. Grab Buckets: For unloading, grab buckets can be used, especially in ports without specialized grain handling equipment.

b. Suction Unloaders: Some terminals use pneumatic systems that suck the grain out of the holds, especially useful for finer grains or when minimizing damage is crucial.

c. Conveyor Systems: Once the grains are unloaded, conveyors transport them to storage areas, trucks, or trains.

6. Safety Measures:

a. Dust Control: Grains can produce a significant amount of dust during handling. Dust control measures, like water sprayers, might be used to minimize this, as excessive dust can be a fire hazard.

b. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Workers should wear appropriate PPE, including dust masks, safety glasses, and hard hats.

c. Avoiding Cross-Contamination: Different grades or types of grains should not be mixed. Proper cleaning and segregation practices are crucial.

Handling bulk HSS requires specialized equipment, expertise, and attention to detail to ensure the grains are transported efficiently and safely while maintaining their quality.


Bulk HSS Ocean Transportation

Bulk HSS (Heavy Grains, Soyabeans, Sorghums) ocean transportation refers to the shipment of these agricultural commodities across oceans using bulk carriers. Transporting HSS by sea has its unique considerations and challenges. Here’s an overview of the key aspects involved:

1. Ship Types:

a. Handysize and Handymax: Ideal for smaller ports with limited infrastructure, these ships often transport HSS cargoes.

b. Panamax and New Panamax: These are larger ships designed to fit through the Panama Canal and are often used for transporting HSS cargoes on major routes, especially for long voyages such as from South America to Asia.

2. Chartering:

a. Voyage Charter: The charterer pays for a specific trip. The shipowner provides the ship, crew, and bears operational costs.

b. Time Charter: The charterer rents the ship for a specific period. The shipowner provides the ship and crew, but other operational costs are borne by the charterer.

3. Loading and Discharging Ports:

Major exporting regions for HSS include:

  • North America: Particularly the U.S. Midwest, leveraging ports along the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico.
  • South America: Brazil and Argentina, with ports like Santos and Rosario.
  • Black Sea Region: Countries like Russia and Ukraine.

Major importing regions include:

  • Asia: Countries such as China, Japan, and South Korea.
  • Middle East: Various countries import HSS for both human consumption and animal feed.

4. Safety and Stability:

a. Proper Stowage: HSS cargoes need to be stowed in a way that prevents shifting during transit, which can jeopardize the ship’s stability.

b. Moisture Content: Monitoring the moisture content is crucial as wet grains can risk liquefaction, where the cargo turns semi-liquid and destabilizes the ship.

5. Cargo Care:

a. Ventilation: Continuous ventilation ensures that heat and moisture don’t accumulate in the holds, which could spoil the grains.

b. Fumigation: Periodic fumigation may be required to prevent pest infestations.

6. Regulatory Concerns:

a. International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code: Provides guidelines for the safe transport of solid bulk cargoes by sea.

b. Quality and Quarantine Inspections: Many importing countries have strict regulations about the quality and sanitary conditions of imported grains. Proper documentation and meeting the necessary standards are vital to avoid delays or penalties.

7. Market Dynamics:

a. Seasonality: The demand and supply of HSS can be seasonal, aligning with harvesting times in different regions.

b. Freight Rates: Rates fluctuate based on factors like fuel prices, global economic conditions, and shipping demand-supply balances.

8. Environmental Concerns:

a. Ballast Water: To ensure stability when the ship is unladen, ships take on ballast water. This water needs to be treated before discharging to prevent the spread of invasive species.

b. Emissions: With the maritime industry focusing on reducing its carbon footprint, using cleaner fuels and adopting technologies to cut down emissions is becoming increasingly important.

Bulk HSS ocean transportation plays a critical role in feeding populations and supporting the agricultural industry across continents. Proper planning, equipment, expertise, and understanding market dynamics are essential to successfully and safely transport these vital commodities.



Top HSS Exporting Countries

HSS stands for Heavy Grains, Soyabeans, and Sorghums. These are major agricultural commodities that play a crucial role in global trade, feeding populations, and supporting livestock. The top exporting countries for these commodities can change based on yearly production, climate conditions, and trade policies. Currently, here are the top exporting countries for these commodities:

1. Soybeans:

  1. United States: The U.S. has been a dominant player in the global soybean market, particularly the Midwest, often referred to as the “Corn Belt.”
  2. Brazil: In recent years, Brazil has been challenging the U.S. for the top spot. The country has seen a significant increase in soybean cultivation and exports, especially from regions like Mato Grosso.
  3. Argentina: Another significant player from South America, Argentina’s agricultural sector has a substantial focus on soybeans.
  4. Paraguay: Though smaller in comparison to its neighbors, Paraguay has been a notable exporter of soybeans.
  5. Canada: While not as large as the U.S. in terms of production, Canada has been steadily increasing its soybean exports.

2. Sorghum (also known as Milo):

  1. United States: The U.S. is the leading exporter of sorghum globally. States like Texas and Kansas are significant producers.
  2. Australia: Depending on the year and conditions, Australia has been a notable exporter of sorghum, especially to markets in Asia.
  3. Argentina: South America, led by Argentina, also plays a role in the global sorghum trade.

3. Heavy Grains (this can encompass a variety of grains, but common ones include wheat, corn, barley, etc.):

  1. United States: For commodities like corn and wheat, the U.S. is among the top exporters.
  2. Russia: Particularly for wheat, Russia has been a dominant force in the global market in recent years.
  3. Ukraine: Ukraine is another significant player in the global grain market, exporting commodities like corn and wheat.
  4. France: Europe’s leading grain exporter, with a significant emphasis on wheat and barley.
  5. Argentina: For corn, Argentina has been a major exporter alongside the U.S. and Ukraine.
  6. Brazil: Mainly known for its soybean exports, Brazil is also a significant exporter of corn.

It’s important to note that these rankings can change from year to year based on factors like climate conditions, trade policies, global demand, and geopolitical events.