The difference between bulk and break bulk shipping

In the shipping industry, it is all too common to hear people referring to bulk and break bulk shipping interchangeably. The truth of the matter is that these two forms of shipping are very different from one another. If you want to know all about the differences between bulk and break bulk shipping, read about it below:


Bulk shipping refers to shipments with loose goods that have been loaded directly into the holds of the ship without being packaged. These loose goods are usually commodities including dry, raw goods like iron ore, grain and coal. All of these goods are loaded into the ships at dedicated loading docks and the amount of goods loaded onto the ship is dependent on the amount of bulk that the ship in use can carry. There are many different size ships used to transport bulk shipments of various sizes, of which is calculated by tonnes of deadweight. 

Break bulk

Break bulk, on the other hand, includes a wide range of goods including cargo that is carried in bags, drums, crates and bundles as well as on pallets and cargo that has been strapped in which could be goods such as wood, rolls of steel, and so much more. However, this type of cargo also includes general goods such as vehicles. These goods are all things that are too big to be placed inside a container. Shipments such as break bulk shipments used to have dedicated carriers; however, as times have changed, most break bulk is transported on container ships now.