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Cargo packaging - general cargo ships procedure

The two principle challenges facing shippers are to satisfy both the customer and the shipper. The customer requires a secure and reliable method of carriage whilst the shipper requires that the space on his vehicle of carriage is fully utilised in order to receive maximum freight.

To achieve compatibility between cargo owners and the owners of the means of transport requires knowledge of the cargo-handling procedures in transport. These procedures are described with reference to major characteristics of commodities and cargoes.



The methods of cargo carriage and packaging must be considered at the very outset of the shipping process.

The size and quality of packages must be compatible with the transport technology contemplated, e.g. utilisation of containers depends on positioning packages to avoid empty space. Hence, the considered transformation of commodity to cargo carries significant commercial, operational and economic impact. Space with a container is not just loss of revenue but poses the danger of goods shifting during transit and so sustaining damage.

Basically, packaging performs the following three basic functions, which we may call the three Ps of packaging, namely: protection, preservation and presentation. A package should protect and preserve the contents during storage and transit from the harvesting (for agricultural products), manufacturing (for manufactured goods) or mining (for ore or other mineral products), to the consuming centre.

Protection is required not only against loss, damage and pilferage, but also, depending on the nature of the contents, against moisture entering or leaving the package, high or low temperatures, light, gases, insect infestation, contamination and other natural hazards. The dry cargoes embrace raw materials, semi-finished or finished goods. They do not require the same containment as gases and liquids.

The number of dry cargo types is almost endless. The type of commodity, the level of finishing, and the transport method will determine the need for packaging and storage requirements. Detailed recommendations of methods of cargo carriage, cargo handling, and transport requirements for various types of goods are found in many literatures.

Storage requirements will tend to determine the choice of transport method. Some commodities have to be kept frozen (e.g. meat) while others need refrigeration (e.g. fruit). Flowers need to reach the customers quickly, while other cargoes need adequate ventilation to avoid combustion (e.g. grain, coal and copra).

The shipper must choose a transport method which secures proper storage and speed of delivery. There are several international conventions as well as common practices shipowners will have to follow to secure proper handling of different cargoes onboard a ships.

Loading of dry bulk cargo at dedicated bulk terminal :

Packaging will also have to be considered relative to the transport method chosen. Some raw materials, like ores, need not be packaged at all. If finished goods are moved in containers, the packaging required is much less than if the goods are transported in individual cases.


Summarized below some more details on general cargo ship cargo handling procedure and operational info:
  1. Cargo handling procedure for general cargo ship

  2. Suitable safety nets or temporary fencing should be rigged where personnel have to walk or climb across built-up cargo, and are therefore at risk of falling .
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  3. Various cargo handling techniques

  4. (a) Technological advances in ship design and lifting equipment (b) Rapid development and increase in the tonnages of bulk cargo (c) The impact of unitisation, and (d) The new and modern techniques of refrigeration, particularly with container carriage.
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  5. Cargo information rules

  6. The MS (Carriage of Cargoes) Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/336) [Regulation 4(1)] specifies that the shipper must provide such information to the operator or master sufficiently in advance of loading to enable them to ensure that: the different commodities to be carried are compatible with each other or suitably separated;.
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  7. Cargo packaging - general cargo ships procedure

  8. To achieve compatibility between cargo owners and the owners of the means of transport requires knowledge of the cargo-handling procedures in transport. These procedures are described with reference to major characteristics of commodities and cargoes. .
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  9. Cargo stowage plan

  10. The copies are forwarded to agents at ports of discharge to allow the booking and reservation of labour, as appropriate. Relevant details of cargoes, i.e. total quantity, description of package, bales, pallets etc., tonnage, port of discharge, identification marks and special features if and when separated .
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  11. Shipment procedure for cargoes in different forms

  12. General cargo is a term that covers a great variety of goods. In regard to modern cargo handling it refers to loose cargo that has not been consolidated for handling with mechanical means such as unitised or containerised cargo. It refers to individual items of any type of cargo, bagged or baled items, cases or crates, individual drums or barrels pieces of machinery or small items of steel construction. .
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  13. Information exchange on cargo stowage and planning

  14. Advance planning, exchange of information, and continuous ship to shore communication are all critical. All cargoes should be stowed and secured in a manner that will avoid exposing the ship and persons on board to unnecessary risk.
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  15. Lifting and carriage of deck cargo

  16. The safe securing of all deck cargoes should be checked by a competent person before the vessel proceeds on passage. The master is responsible for ensuring that it is correctly stowed and adequately secured for the intended voyage. Areas on the deck which are not to be used for cargo stowage should be clearly marked or otherwise indicated. .
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  17. Safe use of pesticides on board cargo ships

  18. Ship's personnel should not handle fumigants and such operations should be carried out only by qualified operators. Fumigation should only be carried out with the agreement of the ship's master..
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  19. Types of packaging & stowage methods for break bulk cargo

  20. The rigging time being negligible, and the crane is able to pick up and land permitted loads anywhere within its working radius. .
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  21. Various commodities carried by general cargo ships

  22. Cargoes should be stowed and secured in a manner that will avoid exposing the ship and persons on board to unnecessary risk. The safe stowage and securing of cargo depends upon proper planning, execution and supervision by properly qualified and experienced personnel. .
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  23. Methods of ventilation

  24. The holds of most dry cargo ships are ventilated by a mechanical supply and natural exhaust system .
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  25. Carriage of containers on cargo ships

  26. The process of loading and securing of goods into a container should follow the IMO/ILO/UN/ECE Guidelines for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTUs). Special care should be taken when lifting a container the centre of gravity of which is mobile, e.g. a tank container, bulk container or a container with contents which are hanging..
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  27. Working in cargo spaces safely

  28. Safety arrangements prior to working cargo should ensure that adequate and suitable lifting plant is available, in accordance with the register of lifting appliances and cargo gear, .
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  29. Cargo handling procedure for general cargo ship

  30. Suitable safety nets or temporary fencing should be rigged where personnel have to walk or climb across built-up cargo, and are therefore at risk of falling .
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