What is a break bulk cargo and what you need to know about it

What is a break bulk cargo and what you need to know about it
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What is break bulk: general cargo definition

Break Bulk cargo is a consignment of cargo carried without the use of containers (in bulk, by piece). For example, boxes that are loaded directly into the hold of the vessel. Bulk break cargoes are various pieces of goods: metal products, mobile equipment, reinforced concrete products and structures, containers, cargo in transport packages, large-sized and heavy cargo, and forest cargo transported by sea and many others. Not only the break bulk definition but also the very notion of “break bulk” or “general cargo” underlines the degree of attention paid to the transportation of cargo. Most often, people are talking about the cargo party, which requires preliminary preparation before loading. Such a load cannot simply be poured, delivered or rolled up. Special packaging is required for breakbulk cargo.

Breakbulk package

The most common types of packaging for bulk cargo:

  • boxes
  • bags
  • barrels
  • containers
  • bales
  • sacks.

If the bb shipping packaging is durable, it lasts longer, protects the load more reliably, and has a greater carrying capacity. Tare unification according to international standards is preferred because of its maximum compatibility with cargo loading and unloading equipment, railway platforms and car trailers, as well as keeping break bulk warehouse. That is why container transportation of goods is in great demand. The container can be delivered by modern sea or land transport to anywhere in the world with or without conventional breaks and is equipped with additional equipment (sensors for opening, temperature, light, accelerometer, GPS-fob, and modem) according to break bulk services. Containers are easier to prepare for transportation – The State Standard 26653-90 implies only 3 requirements for containers for the carriage of goods: dimensions, weight, and no deformations.

Bulk load board: reliable and economical

With the development of cargo transportation in containers, specialized containers began to appear (for transportation of perishable goods, with refrigeration units). The territory of the container terminals is equipped with storage space and sockets for such containers. The range of goods transported in containers is growing steadily. Everyone wins since there is no need to repack the goods when changing a vehicle. It is not difficult to prepare it for shipment. It is worth noting that research in the field of transportation clearly indicates an increase in the number of container transportation of goods, including the wide use of so-called tank containers.

The simplicity of preparation, unification and high security of the transported cargo – all these have a positive effect on reducing the cost of transportation, i.e. even multimodal (mixed) transportation over long distances can cost significantly less. In addition, the container can be taken or leased, refitted, and reused.

Transport: bulk paper goods

Without going deep into the historical processes that took place since the first railway appeared, we will consider some features of the current traffic situation.

When organizing the transportation of bulk breaking, in each specific case, it is necessary to take into account a number of factors: type of cargo, requirements for speed of delivery, cost, and reliability of the chosen mode of transportation.

  1. Airfreight. The obvious advantage of air is the speed of delivery. This criterion does not need additional comments. However, the cost of air transport is often higher than for a different mode of transportation.
  2. Shipping. Transportation by sea is optimal for a large consignment, but in the case of general cargo, it is preferable to import and export it in cooperation with ocean lines.
  3. Railway transport. Transportation over considerable distances in every country makes rail transportation particularly relevant. Railway transport is characterized by a weighted ratio of the cost of transportation per kilometer and the time spent on delivery. The length of communication lines, as well as the lack of roads in some cases, is an indisputable argument.
  4. Road transport. It is, above all, the delivery of cargo in the “door-to-door” mode. Quantity and quality of roads are steadily increasing. More roads are being built; specialized industrial zones are being developed outside of them or at the entrances to the cities.

New distribution centers and large warehouse complexes are now mostly taken out of the city limits. Modern freight transport is a comfortable, economical, and reliable type of transport, equipped with onboard systems for tracking the driver, the cargo and the technical condition of the tractor, the refrigeration unit. A variety of trailers and containers allows organizing the transport of bulky goods of any complexity by sea.

Bulk cargoes do not include oil products or fuel, liquid and caustic substances, other dangerous goods, crushed stone, sand, ore, coal, and grain. Cargoes are limited in size and are divided into regular, long (over 3 meters) and oversized, which by their weight are divided into lightweight and heavyweight with weight over 5 tons.

Transportation of cargoes, as a rule, is carried out by a full transport consignment – a wagon, container or road train, on ships of regular lines. General cargo may be shipped in bulk. For the delivery of general cargoes, a separate document is drawn up named the cargo list.

General cargo must always be prepared for transportation with regard to the requirements for the products being transported. These requirements are approved by the IMO Code of Safe Practice for the Placement and Fastening of Goods (Assembly Resolution A.714 (17)), SOLAS Convention 74.

Sea transportation requirements

When transported by sea transport, the cargo declared for transportation must meet all the conditions and requirements of sea transportation and the established standards applicable to transportation:

  • serviceability of packaging
  • availability of seals and service
  • the existence of locks, control tapes
  • lack of flow of liquid goods
  • compliance of the packaging with the established requirements for the cargo
  • the presence of clear markings and warning signs and labels on the packaging
  • no wet loads
  • elimination of odors and other signs of damage to the cargo.

The complexity of transportation of breaking bulk is in ensuring control of the quality of the packaging and careful handling of it throughout the transportation route. The peculiarity of transportation is that the general cargo is not subjected to reloading. As a rule, they are delivered in the same cargo container from the place of loading and departure to the point of destination. General cargo moves through one set of accompanying documents if it is not associated with a change of the mode of transport since it completely occupies the cargo capacity.

The absence of the need to carry out additional operations on the compilation of delivery and modular routes or cargo transshipment as it travels from one sender to one recipient leads to a reduction in the time for delivery of general cargo or breakbulk cargo.