One short step from the laborious task of loading and stowing small bags such as 25 kgs bags of grain, is to increase the bag size as technology permits, to 50 kgs, 100 kgs or even to one tonne each.

To enable these larger, bulkier jumbo bags to be manoeuvered, some are designed with attached handles, which can simply be hooked to cargo handling gear and hoisted on or off the carrying ship.

An alternative to this is to position slings around a group of smaller bags, which once loaded, are left in position with sling eyes in a convenient position for the unit to be hooked up and lifted out upon discharge, a technique known as Pre-Slinging.

Obviously, ships with wide, open or twin-hatches lend themselves more favourably to this technique than do vessels with small hatchways and deep overhangs to their cargo-holds.

Pre-Slinging is equally beneficial to palletised goods, sawn-timber, bales, steel products and reels of newsprint, and it is commonplace to encounter pre-slung goods in today’s markets such as pre-slung shrink-wrapped bagged cement. Shrink-wrapped is a term used to describe transparent plastic covering around a unit of goods, being often heat-shrunk into place. Such a protective cover keeps goods dry and free from dirt or stain and tends to reduce pilferage.