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Type of Marine Cargo: Dry Bulk

Posted in Marine Cargo - 1 Jul 2019, 11:30 AM

What is Dry Bulk Cargo?

Dry bulk cargo is a variety of solid goods that are transported by logistics company in large unpackaged units and measured as tons of deadweight tonnage (dwt). The weight of the cargo is carried by ships that are commonly referred to as bulk carriers. There is a variety of bulk carriers according to their capacity. Small mini-bulker can carry up to 10,000 DWT while giant-bulker has a capacity up to 400,000 DWT.

Characteristics of Dry Bulk Cargo

  • Uniform in composition or homogenous material
  • Combination of particles, granules or other large pieces of material
  • A wide number of cargoes apart from liquids and gases
  • It is loaded directly into the cargo spaces without an intermediate form of incarceration.

Loading Process of Dry Bulk Cargo

Before solid bulk cargoes are loaded, there should be an agreement between the master and terminal representatives regarding the loading and unloading plan. The operation plan must be done according to the ship’s instructions with the safety of the ship and those on board as the top priority. After that, the ship safety checklist also has to be completed. Upon the completion of the loading process, it is important to record the ship’s condition, including any damage suffered by the ship and the cleanliness of the cargo holds.

Variety of Dry Bulk Cargo

Generally, there are two types of this cargo based on the trade volume. The most common cargoes are major bulk which occupies two-thirds of global dry bulk trade. Some of them are coals, iron ores, and grains. On the other hand, minor bulk including steel products, sugars, fertilizers, dry edible, minerals, and cement occupy the remaining one-third of global dry bulk trade.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Dry Bulk Shipping

Shipment is relatively easier than liquid bulk shipment. Daily check of liquid bulk cargo is essential to maintain the standard temperature and pressure. It’s not the case with this kind of cargo.

However, the shipment also has its own challenges. A little moisture may entirely ruin the cargo, so it’s crucial to always keep the cargo dry. Furthermore, dangerous cargoes may require special treatments during loading, transportation, and discharge. For example, iron ore fines, nickel ores, and bauxites can change behavior during the shipment and adopt the properties of liquids. It may cause the ship to lost stability, leading to an accident. Compared to container shipment, the shipment also has a higher risk to the ecological environment. Because the cargoes are unpacked, it can easily spill into the ocean, and it will be really difficult to clean up.

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