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Cargo and Packaging


he 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.

In this chapter, we shall look at the transformation from commodity to cargo and
the packaging requirements for the various types of cargo, including its
implications on shippers of unitised cargo.
Chapter objectives
On completion of this chapter, you should be able to:

Understand the transformation from cargo to commodity.

Describe the packaging requirement of the different types of cargo.

List the guidelines on the choice of packaging.

Know the principles of packing cargo in container.

From commodity to cargo

Commodities and cargoes may be in solid dry form, or they may be liquids or gases.
The physical state has clear implications for storing, handling and movement of
commodities. Different forms require different transport modes, means and
Gases and liquids have to be contained in
some form. They may be packed into
containers or flasks, or alternatively be
moved without packaging in pipelines and
special carriers. When gas is moved in tanks
onboard ships, it is often liquefied by low
temperature. This is a highly specialised form
of transport requiring not only expensive,
purpose built carriers, but also special
terminals and handling equipment. There are
two forms of gas which are shipped by sea,
liquefied natural gas (LNG) and liquefied
petroleum gas (LPG). The advantages of
cooling gases can be evidenced in the simple
arithmetic that liquid gasses can be reduced
by about 600%.
The traditional liquid cargoes are mainly
crude oil and its refined products, vegetable
oils, wines, latex, various chemicals and even
water. In bigger lots liquid cargoes are carried
loose in ships, i.e. they are pumped from
tanks on shore through pipelines to tanks
onboard the ship and vice versa. This is the
practice for very large crude carriers (VLCC).

A Typical LNG Vessel

A Typical VLCC Vessel

In smaller lots liquids and gases are stored and moved in containers or flasks. When
packed in this way, the commodities may be regarded as dry cargo from a transport
point of view.
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
recommendations of methods of cargo
carriage, cargo handling, and transport
requirements for various types of goods are
found in many literatures1 .
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.
Methods of cargo carriage2
In general, commodities are either moved in bulk or as general cargo. Bulk and
general cargoes are defined relative to their means of transport and the cargo mix
onboard. If, for example, a ship carries a homogeneous cargo lot which is not packed
in any form, this is a bulk cargo: oil carried directly in tanks, grain carried directly in
holds or pig iron loaded directly, in holds.
When cargoes are packed and mixed onboard, it is referred to as general cargo. Most
finished goods are shipped as general cargo, while raw materials in bigger lots are
usually bulk cargoes.

Example: Branch, A.E., Elements of Shipping, Chapman and Hall Ltd., London and New York, 1996.

Use of Maritime Transport. A Guide for Shippers, Freight Forwarders and Ship Operators, Volume 1,
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, ST/ESCAP/516, p. 50-51.

The distinction between bulk cargoes and general cargoes is not strict. There are
examples of more than one bulk cargo being carried onboard the same ship, in
different holds or sections. Similarly, there are general cargoes which fill up the whole
carrier, e.g. shiploads of sugar in bags. This is referred to as unit loads of general
cargoes (which does not necessarily involve pallets or containers). The opposite,
where the ship carries different cargoes packed differently is referred to as general
break bulk cargoes. Such cargoes may consist of pallets, unpacked machinery, drums,
crates and so on.
The table below clarifies the difference between the physical form of a cargo and the
way it is shipped. Commodities, dry as well as liquid, may be shipped in unit loads, in
break bulk or as bulk cargo. It should be noted that terminology with regard to the
above is not fully consequent, and that additional terms are in use. The term "parcel
bulk" in chemical carriers is one example of this; up to 30 different chemicals may be
transported simultaneously onboard the same ship.
Table 2.1: Cargo physical forms and ways shipped
The ways Dry cargo is shipped
Physical form
Dry cargoes

Unit load
e.g. bagged rice in
whole load

Liquid cargoes

e.g. whole load of

oil in drums

Break bulk
e.g. machinery
parts in crates and
e.g. part loads of
wine in cases

Bulk cargo
e.g. loose grain in
e.g. crude oil in
tank vessels

There exists a third; hybrid form of moving

cargoes, involving slurry techniques. Dry bulk
cargoes may be transformed into slurries and moved
in a form similar to that of liquid bulk. This has been
applied to coal and iron ores, where the ores or the
coal are mixed with water and transported by means
of pipelines.
On a world wide basis, almost all the liquid
commodities, measured in tons, are moved in bulk.
Important dry goods, like grain, coal, ores, tapioca,
copra and salt are similarly moved in homogeneous unpackaged lots. Such bulk
cargoes can be handled in many different ways. Liquids are moved in pipelines, grain
are mostly loaded by conveyors or chutes and unloaded pneumatically, while ores and
coal are mostly moved with conveyors or grabs.
Bulk coal loader incorporating
centralised dust control system

The cargo characteristics will influence the choice of ship needed for a specific job.
Different ships are constructed to carry different bulk cargoes.
Similarly, the cargo access equipment have been constructed to cater for different
commodities. The equipment available for cargo handling at the intended ports of

loading and discharge will also be reflected in the type of ship needed for a specific
job. If, for example, no cranes are available in the discharging port, a ship equipped
with cranes will have to be chosen for the transport task.
Cargo in its different forms
General Cargo
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.
If general cargo is to be loaded on a ship in general stow it is usually man handled into
place. Hence the reason why general cargo is rarely seen in developed countries today,
the cost of handling such items is prohibitive and the time taken is unacceptable for
most maritime operations.

Sling here

Fragile handle with care

Do not use hooks

Keep away from heat

This way up

Centre of Gravity

In stow, general cargo is

susceptible to crushing damage
from other items of cargo or
damage from the ship's steel
damage, sweat damage and
from pilferage. Hence cargo
stowed in this state must be
dunnage depending on the
type of cargo and the risk of
such cargo in stow. For
example, bagged cargo if
damage should never be
stowed against the steel in the
cargo compartment, some type
of dunnage or cargo battens
must be placed between the
cargo and the steel work.

The International Marking Symbols

Cargo susceptible to crushing

must be placed in top stow. Food stuff can often taint other cargoes so must be
stowed apart. Some cargoes need ventilation and must be stowed accordingly. Cargo
that has a value to any individual must be protected from pilferage, examples of this
are shoes and clothing, beer and spirits, grocery items and electrical goods.
General cargo must be appropriately labelled. Usually with the port of destination and
the consignee's identification, this is called the cargo mark. And it is this mark that is
also shown on the Bill of Lading and the Cargo Manifest.

It is the responsibility of the

shipper to ensure that general
cargo is presented for shipment
suitably packaged to prevent
damage in handling. If there is any
risk in handling damage then the
items should be clearly marked
with the international symbols as
shown above.
Due to the numerous small parcels
making up general cargo, it is usual
Cargo handling operations at a conventional cargo
to tally such cargo onto the vessel
while loading and in some
instances discharge tallies are also conducted. Cargo quantity on board is confirmed
by the ship's officers signing a Mate's Receipt, details from the Mate's Receipt then
make up the information on the Bill of Lading.
Tallies, Mates Receipts and thence Bill of Ladings must accurately record the quantity
and condition of the cargo. The ship is then obliged to discharge the cargo at its
destination in the same quantity and condition as stated on the Bill of Lading. If it
does not then the carrier (the shipowner) is liable.
It is important therefore, that any defects, damage, lack of suitable packaging, or any
deterioration whatsoever to general cargo sighted by the ship during or prior to
loading is outlined on the Mates Receipt. The Bill of Lading must then be suitably
claused prior to signing by the ship's Master or his agent.
Obviously the usual type of ship carrying general cargo are general cargo vessels,
although it is not unusual for bulk carriers to carry certain types of general cargo such
as forest or steel products. In addition it is fairly common for bulk carriers to also
carry large quantities of bagged cargo, although this is often referred to a specialised or
particular bulk cargo.
Further knowledge of general cargo, types, characteristics, stowage
factors and usual packaging can be gleaned from the publication by
THOMAS et al entitled Thomas' stowage : The properties and stowage
of cargoes 4th ed. Glasgow (UK), Brown, Son & Ferguson, 2002.
(ISBN 0-85714-694-2) this is the only comprehensive text book written on the
subject and also includes text on operational matters of working a general cargo
Containerised Cargo
General cargo moving between developed countries today is usually containerised and
carried on cellular container or Ro/Ro vessels. So just what is the difference when we
refer to containerised cargo?
Almost any commodity can be containerised. The great advantages to the industry
with containerisation is that the cargo is not man handled on and off the ship, instead
the container is handled with fast and sophisticated handing equipment. Naturally in

developed countries where labour is expensive significant savings can be made, less so
initially for developing countries but over time as they become developed this will
The cargo itself therefore needs less
protective packaging. The cargo can be
stowed in the container away from the
wharf, often by the shipper himself.
The containers fit into predetermined
positions on board ship, complicated
stowage planning is not necessary.
Documentation and identification of
cargo is simplified as the container
number replaces the cargo mark.
Computers and electronic data
interchange now play a large part in

A general purpose container.

ensuring the correct cargo movement,

there is no need to tally the cargo.
The containers themselves are owned
or leased by the shipping companies
and are responsible in ensuring that
sufficient empty units are available for
shippers at the load ports. To achieve
this often large quantities of empty
units are carried at the shipowners
expense to high demand areas.

A refrigerated (reefer) container.

The containers themselves were originally designed to fit international standards of

specific sizes. However, ship owners have pushed the actual dimensions of the units
to their absolute limits, consequently there are a variety of heights, widths and even
lengths of units in the system today.
There are of course many specialised, or special purpose containers in use. The full list
is endless but some of the more common are listed below:

Typical Cargo


Used for frozen or cool cargo

Half height units

Steel or other heavy items

Flat racks

Timber, vehicles and odd shapes

Open top

Over height items

Bulk boxes

Bulk cargo such as grain or fertilisers

Open sided

Ventilated cargo such as onions

Tank containers

Liquids and chemicals in bulk

A typical dry box was 20 x 8 x 8 feet (L x B x H) but it is not unusual to find units in
the system today measuring 20' x 8' x 8' - 9' 6". Forty foot (40) units, were, until
recently the maximum length of containers but 44' and 48' units have been introduced
on the American coast and many are now finding their way into international trades.
Forty-five foot (45) units have also gained worldwide acceptance today.
Compared with general cargo carried break bulk, cargo damage in containers is
considerably reduced, however, it still exists. Some of the more common forms of
damage are explained below.

Cargo not properly secured or trimmed-off within the container will damage
either due to heavy rolling of the ship or from shunting if transported by rail. The
further a container is stowed away from the ship's centre of motion the greater
will be the acceleration forces on the cargo and therefore the greater risk of
damage in heavy weather.

Water damage can be expected if the container has a leaking roof, although the
majority of water damage sustained by a substandard box is caused at the terminal
while the container is waiting in the stacks. Water damage on board is usually
caused by a flooded hold due to blocked bilges or a leaking ballast tank. Another
source of water damage is often caused when a container is stowed outside on
deck where the seas can reach the underside of the unit.

Refrigerated cargo damage can occur due to a malfunction of refrigeration

machinery, or through a hot spot within the container due to insufficient cold air
circulation in the stow caused by poor packing or lack of adequate separation
through the stow.

Container and cargo within the container

can be damaged due to inappropriate or
inadequate securing arrangements when
containers are stowed on deck.

Despite cargo being stowed in containers it

is still possible for some products to taint
due to being stowed in close proximity of
badly smelling cargoes. Foodstuff stowed
close to wet salted hides is a classic example.

Some cargoes can spoil in the close

confines of a container due to lack of
ventilation. Sweat damage is as much of a
problem with some containerised cargoes
as it is with some general cargoes in an
open hold.

To prevent damage to container roof top,

accurate positioning of quay cranes
spreader is very important.

Pilferage can still take place with containerised cargo. Despite the fact that the
door leaves are sealed it is still possible for the doors to be sprung open with the
use of heavy machinery, individual items within the container can then be stolen
and the doors sprung shut without the door seal being broken. Although in most

cases of container pilferage the entire container is hijacked and box and contents
disappear without a trace!
Before packing a container
Packing a container should always be done on level plane either on the ground,
on a railcar, or on a trailer. In the case of a trailer, care should be taken to ensure the
trailer cannot tip whilst being packed especially if a forklift truck is being used. If
necessary the trailer should be propped. Brakes should be securely applied and wheels
Stowage should be planned before packing is commenced. This should make it
possible to produce either a tight or a secured stow, in which the compatibility of all
items of cargo and the nature i.e. Type and strength of any packages or packaging
involved are taken into account. The possibility of cross-contamination by odour or
dust as well as physical or chemical compatibility should be considered.
The planned load should not weight more than the payload of the container
which is marked upon it. This ensures that the permitted maximum gross weight of
the container on the CSC Safety Approval Plate (which includes the payload) will
never be exceeded. A picture of the rear end of a typical container is shown below:

A Rear View of a Container

Notwithstanding the load limitations on a container mentioned above, any limitation
along the projected route that may be dictated by regulations or other circumstances
(such as lifting and handling equipment or road restrictions on height and weight)
should be complied with. Such limit may be considerably less that the permitted gross
weight already referred to. In case of doubt, the container operator should be

Stowage planning should take account of the fact that containers are generally
designed assuming the load to be evenly distributed over the entire floor area. Where
substantial deviations from uniform packing could occur, specialist advice should be
When a heavy indivisible load is to be shipped in a container or vehicle, due regard
should be given to the localised weight bearing capability of the container. If necessary,
the weight should be spread over a larger area than the actual bearing surface of the
load, for example, by use of timber bulks.
In such a case the method of securing the load should be planned before packing
occurs and any necessary preparations made.
If the planned load of an open-topped or open-sided container is to project beyond
the container overall dimensions, special arrangements should be made.
When heavy cargo is to be shipped, if it is impracticable to place the centre of gravity
in or near the centre of the horizontal plane of the container, or if it will be above the
half height, the container operator should be consulted.
When planning the packing of a container, consideration should be given to potential
problems which may be created for those who will unpack it.
Packing and Securing
It is essential to make the cargo in a container or vehicle secure against any reasonably
foreseeable movement. At the same time, the method of securing the cargo should
not itself cause damage or deterioration either to the cargo or the container or vehicle.
Where goods of regular shape and size are concerned, a tight stow from wall to wall
should be sought. However, in many instances some void spaces will occur. These
can be tolerated if security is obtained by the frictional effect between adjacent
packages. If there is an insufficient frictional effect, or if the spaces between the
packages are tool large, then the stow should be completed by using dunnage, folded
cardboard, air bags or other suitable means.
If airbags are used, the manufacturer's instructions as to filling pressure should be
scrupulously observed. Allowance should be made for the possibility of a considerable
rise in the internal temperature of the container above the temperature at the time of
packing which might cause the bags to expand and burst, thereby making them
ineffectual as a means of securing the cargo. Air bags should be not be used as a
means of filing space at the doorway unless precautions are taken to ensure that they
cannot cause the door to open violently when the locking bars are released.
The cargo weight should be evenly distributed over the floor of a container or vehicle.
Where cargo items of a varying weight are to be packed into a container or vehicle or
where a container or vehicle will not be full (either because of insufficient cargo or
because the maximum weight allowed will be reached before the container or vehicle
is full), the stow should be so arranged and secured that the approximate centre of the
weight of the cargo is close to the mid-length of the container or vehicle. In no case

should more than 60 per cent of the load be concentrated in less than half of the
length of a container measured from one end.
Heavy goods should not be placed on top of lighter goods and liquids should not be
placed on top of solids. The centre of gravity should be below the half height of a
In order to avoid cargo damage from moisture, wet cargoes, moisture inherent
cargoes or cargoes liable to leak should not be packed with goods susceptible to
damage by moisture. Wet dunnage, pallets or packaging should not be used. In
certain cases, damage to equipment and cargo can be prevented by the use of
protective material such as polythene sheeting.
Damaged packages should not be packed into container or vehicle unless precautions
have been taken against harm from spillage or leakage.
Permanent securing equipment incorporated in the design of a container should be
used wherever necessary to prevent cargo movement.
Where open-sided vehicles are concerned, particular care should be taken to secure
cargo the forces likely to arise from the rolling of the ship. In order words, a check
should be made to ensure that all side battens are fitted or other adequate precautions
are taken.
Special packing instructions shown on packages or otherwise available, should be
followed. E.g.:

Goods marked "protect from frost" should be packed away from the walls of
a container;

Goods marked "this way up" should be packed accordingly.

On completion of packing a container

During the final stages of packing a container, care should be taken, so far as
practicable, to build a secure face of the cargo so as to prevent "fall out" when the
doors are opened. Where there is any doubt as to the security of the cargo, further
steps should be taken to ensure security by weaving strapping between securing points
or placing timber between the rear posts. Two factors should be borne in mind:

that a container on a trailer usually inclines towards the door;

that a cargo may move against the doors due to jolts etc. during the transit.

If a container is destined for a country with wood treatment quarantine regulations,

care should be taken that all wood in the container, packaging and cargo complies
with the regulations. It is useful to place a copy of the wood treatment certificate in a
conspicuous place in the container.

After closing the doors, ensure that all closures are properly engaged and secure.
Usually a seal should be applied. Care should be taken that sealing procedures are
carried out properly and transport documents/receipts bear the correct seal number
before the container leaves the premise.
When a container, or its contents, has been fumigated and is to be shipped under
fumigation, then a warning label should be placed on the outside of the doors so that
it is clearly visible to any person operating the doors. The label should state the
method of fumigation employed and the date and time on which it took place.
As containers offered for shipment under fumigation may require special precautions,
they should only be accepted with the agreement of the carrier and they should be
identified to him prior to loading. Note: point 4 and 5 do not apply to containers
which have been fumigated, ventilated thereafter and certified as safe.
Dry bulk cargo
The loading, carriage and finally the discharge of dry bulk
cargo is not as simple or straight forward as most people
would imagine. Many bulk cargoes have hazardous
properties, or can change their properties on passage.
The ship can be easily damaged by incorrect loading e.g.
loading a forward hold to it maximum can cause the ship
to bend. This stress can have life threatening results at
sea in rough weather. Residues from previous cargoes
can also seriously effect latter cargoes. Water damage can
also have devastating effect on some bulk cargoes e.g.
cement power. It is not easy to verify true weights or
quantities of cargoes loaded or discharged. All these
factors have a serious consequence on the methods of
operation for the safe carriage of bulk cargoes.

Discharging bulk cargo using


Consider some of the more common bulk cargoes and their properties:
Coal Coal is transported on all types of bulk carriers from handy size to VLCBs.
However, it is not an easy or straight forward cargo to handle. It can emit methane
gas and it is self-heating. In addition coal contains sulphur which causes severe
corrosion when in contact with the ship's steelwork. In most ports the cargo is loaded
wet to reduce dust. Much of this moisture settles on passage and is pumped out
through the ship's hold bilges which means that less weight is discharged than is
Iron Ore - This cargo is loaded very fast, 10,000 tonnes an hour is not unusual. The
loading and de-ballasting of the ship must be meticulously planned to ensure that the
vessel is not overstressed. There is very little chance of damaging the cargo but the
ship can receive extensive damage during the discharge operation from the equipment
Mineral Concentrates - Many different types of concentrates are handled in various
parts of the world and in varying quantities. Most of these cargoes are extremely
heavy and have a low transportable moisture limit (TML). This means that if the

moisture content of the cargo become greater than the TML the cargo can liquefy and
turn into a slurry. When this happens on board, the cargo moves from side to side as
the ship rolls which reduces the ship's righting lever. It does not require much cargo
weight to capsize the vessel when this happens, it a loss of stability due to free surface
effect. Some of the most dangerous cargoes where this can happen are copper, lead or
zinc concentrates, magnetite, limonite and most pyrites.
Grain - One of the most difficult and dangerous cargoes
to carry in bulk are grain cargoes. Most grains have an
angle of repose (slip angle) of about 20 from the
horizontal, which means that if the ship rolls more than
20 the cargo will shift. Then this happens the ship will
develop a large list, lying on her side and still rolling will
obviously cause a greater shift of cargo which in turn will
capsize the vessel. Most authorities therefore request that
the master proves that his ship is capable of remaining
stable even if the grain cargo shifts. This is done by the
compiling of the Grain Loading Form which fully
outlines the ships stability at the worse condition on

Loading of grain using

movable loader fitted with

Naturally grain cargoes, like any foodstuff, are susceptible

to claims with contamination from a previous cargo and in addition can easily be
damaged by water.
Vermin can also be a problem. Cargo holds must be clean and dry prior to the loading
of any grain cargo and most grain charters demand a survey of the ship's hold prior to
loading for this reason.
Cement - Obviously any moisture is going to ruin a cargo of cement but probably a
greater danger to the vessel is the dust that can be produced during the loading and
discharge of the cargo. If it is not removed promptly or gets into the ship's air intakes
it can cause some long term problems to the vessel.
Salt- Salt, strangely enough, is not damaged from water, in fact the cargo can be
loaded slightly moist. However, it can get rust stained from the ship's steelwork,
therefore the ship must cover all the steel within the cargo hold with a lime wash
solution thereby keeping the salt off the steelwork.
Woodchips - Again a supposedly harmless cargo that does have some hidden
dangers. Some shipments many be subject to oxidation leading to depletion of oxygen
and an increase of carbon dioxide in the cargo hold and adjacent spaces. In addition,
woodchips can be easily ignited by external sources, it is readily combustible and can
also ignite by friction. The stowage factor can vary greatly with this cargo depending
on the wood type, the moisture content and the type of loading head used. Even
different loading operators can achieve varying stowage factors with the same cargo.

Liquid cargo
Even liquid cargoes have their difficulties.
Outlined below are some problems associated
with various cargo systems found in tankers.
There is a high risk of contamination when a
common pump is used for several cargo tanks,
if the system is not properly drained between
different cargoes. Modern tankers are often
Connecting shore loading arm to the
equipped with individual submersible cargo
ships manifold onboard a tanker.
pumps but if these are connected to common
or shared lines there is still a risk of
contamination. There will normally be a drain cock near or on the cargo pump itself,
this drain cock should be opened to verify that the line has been properly drained
before pumping a different cargo. In addition most of these pumps are hydraulically
driven, damage oil seals can lead to hydraulic oil leakage into the cargo tank
contaminating sensitive cargoes.
On oil tankers it is normal to have a common cargo tank ventilation system. The
vapours from one cargo tanks can easily enter a different tank in the system. This may
result in cargo contamination or change the flash point of the product. Petroleum
products are classified into volatile and non-volatile cargoes. A cargo with a flash
point below 60C is a volatile product and a cargo with a flash point above 60C is a
non-volatile cargo (different rules apply to the handling of volatile and non-volatile
cargoes). Diesel oil has a flash point of around 63C and vapours from a volatile cargo
can easily change the flash point to below 60C, causing the cargo to be re-classified.
Many lube oils and lube additives are heated during transport. Steam coils are
normally used for this purpose. A leaking heating coil can lead to water entering the
cargo tank and consequently contaminating the cargo. Laboratory tests should be
carried out on cargoes contaminated by water. It should be established whether the
water is fresh or salt water. Contamination caused by fresh water is most likely to be
caused by a leaking heating coil whereas salt water contamination would probably be
caused by a leaking tank hatch, in which case the hatch packing should be checked.
independent cargo systems. Each cargo
tank will have an independent pumping
contamination in chemical tankers are
often caused by poor cleaning of cargo
tanks or pipe lines. Unfortunately many
chemicals are extremely sensitive to
contamination, just a few parts per
A typical chemical tanker.
million of a previous cargo can
contaminate an entire shipment. Many
cargo samples are taken during the loading of chemicals. When a cargo is
contaminated it must be established whether the cargo was effected prior to loading;
or during its transportation on board. Cargo transfer hoses may also contribute to

cargo contamination, therefore hoses should be properly cleaned in between different

Cargo Handling
The techniques of cargo handling have, at least in ocean transport, developed
considerably over the last decades. This is particularly due to:
(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
It is shippers, as a group, which have been influencing these developments. The
requirements for efficient transport have led the transport industry, port authorities,
shipowners etc., to develop new concepts for ship technology and cargo handling. It
is up to the individual shipper to utilise the available methods of transport and cargo
handling, in order to be competitive in the international markets. As a minimum,
requirements must be properly defined by shippers so that the most appropriate
services may be made available by the carrier.
The shipper will have to prepare consignments for transport. The handling and
storage of cargo is not his immediate responsibility, but as it will influence the total
transport cost and quality, shippers' will have to ascertain that the best available
methods are provided and used. While in transit, commodities are represented by
documents. It is in the shipper's interest to see to that the paper work is handled
Cargo preparations
Some sort of packaging will normally be a prerequisite for carrying commodities as
general cargo, especially in break bulk. Packaging has at least three functions:
(a) To protect the goods;
(b) To keep a consignment together;
(c) To prevent the goods from damaging the environment.
Transport usually subjects the cargo to mechanical forces (shocks, vibrations,
pressures) and/or climatical forces (temperature, moisture). At least for a
conventional shipment, the packaging needs to be strong enough to withstand the
rigours of stowage and multiple handling. Goods which are not packed properly may
damage other goods in the same transport. In such cases the shipper may be liable.
Paper and carton are traditionally mostly used in local transport, where the risk of
damage is usually smaller. Plastic and especially jute are used to produce bags. Bags are
commonly used to pack traditional bulk commodities in small quantities, like cement,

sugar or grain. Wood is still common

to make cases or crates. Drums and
barrels are made of metal or plastics
and are used for transport of liquids
in small lots.
The shipper has to follow
procedures laid down by public
authorities as well as commercial
practice with regard to packaging,
marking and declarations of
Unstuffing bagged rice from a container.

The marking should embrace at least

the following:
(a) Destination: Address of the end receiver, transhipment, order-number.
(b) Handling instructions: Especially with fragile commodities it is important to
mark the package with handling directions to avoid breakage and other damages. To
avoid language difficulties a set of internationally recognised signs are developed for
cargo marking.
(c) Dangerous goods: Some goods are classified as dangerous. In general, goods are
regarded as dangerous if they have chemical or physical properties which can damage
other goods, materials or the environment. Examples are explosives, flammable
liquids or gases and poisons.
IMO, the International Maritime Organisation, has worked out rules for the handling
of dangerous goods at sea in conventions which have been ratified by most member
countries. These rules contain regulations regarding packaging, marking and labelling,
stowage requirements, etc. for various types of explosives, gases, and various types of
inflammable materials. This is discussed later in detail.
Cargo loading and discharging
The rate at which cargo is loaded aboard or
discharged from a ship has a significant bearing
upon the overall cost of transport. Excessive
time in port deprives consignees of the use of
their goods, and ship operators of the use of their
vessels. Therefore, the improvement of cargo
handling methods has been a constant aim of
many of those concerned in the operation of

The use of quay cranes in modern

container terminal help in reducing
vessels turn around time.

Every cargo handling or transfer system consists of a number of identifiable elements.

Goods are moved from one place to another, such as a quayside storage area and a
ship's hold. Then there is the commodity itself, which may take many forms, as
already described. Finally, there is the medium by which the cargo is transferred,
which may be manual labour, specially designed equipment or some combination of

the two. In an efficient system, these four elements must be properly matched. This
implies a certain cooperation between the port authority, the shipowner, the shipper,
and the possible stevedoring company engaging the port labour.
The earliest efforts to increase cargo
handling rates were concentrated mainly
on the transfer medium, and led to the
development of a wide range of
mechanical equipment, such as cranes,
conveyors etc., which has substantially
improved loading and discharging rates,
especially for bulk cargoes.
General cargo handling has, however,
not benefited to such a great extent
use of modern handling equipment in bulk
from such developments. In liner The
handling operations such as mobile unloader
shipping, the principal restriction to connected to a conveyor system shown here will
the smooth movement of cargo at the
high handling rates has always been the facilitate
port interface.
large variety of packagings used for
general cargo, so that significant
improvements have only become possible by reducing the number of different forms
in which goods are presented for shipment.
Thus it is only with the adoption of unitisation that general cargo carriers have
achieved high transfer rates and been able to take advantage of handling techniques
similar to those which have been developed for homogeneous cargoes.
It is customary to distinguish between vertical and horizontal loading of ships as well
as other means of transport. With vertical loading, the cargo must pass over the rail of
the ship and into holds through hatches in
the deck. Derricks, cranes and conveyor belts
are commonly used for the transfer of dry
commodities. Liquids and gases are moved
through pipelines. This traditional method is
very useful for the handling of bulk cargoes.
Horizontal loading of cargo is done through
openings in the bow, side or stern of a ship.
Discharging of a train coach via the stern
These ships are commonly referred to as
door of a Ro/Ro ship.
roll-on/roll-off (Ro/Ro) ships as the cargo
can be accepted on wheeled vehicles.
Flexibility and fast port turnarounds are the essential feature of Ro-Ro operations, and
cargo handling rates can be significantly increased.
Not all horizontal loading ships are strictly Ro-Ro ships. Pallet carriers may, for
example, have side doors only and the cargo is loaded or discharged by fork-lift trucks
operating on the quayside.

Cargo stowage
responsible for the stowage of cargo
onboard the vessel. In the handling of
stowage and carriage of cargo, the
following general principles will
The safety of ship and crew

The safety of the cargo

The highest possible port speed

The most efficient use of space

Systematic and efficient stowage of cargo will help

prevent cargo damage and ensure maximum
utilisation of hold space.

When loading a general cargo at a variety of ports for a variety of ports, the problem
of where to place the individual cargoes must be solved to secure minimum time in
port. The cargo must be stowed in reverse order of the intended discharge to avoid
rearrangements of the consignments. At the same time the amount of unused space
should be kept as low as possible to obtain the best economical use of the vessel.
It is common to distinguish between horizontal and vertical stowage of general cargo
in a ship. With horizontal stowage the cargo is spread over a relatively large area, while
in vertical loading the consignments are stacked on top of each other so that space
can be better utilised. Bulk cargoes present little difficulty in stowage, as they can fill
up the holds as appropriate. In some cases the cargo needs to be trimmed, i.e.
shovelled by hand from high piles in the centre of the hold to the perimeter so that
the vessel can be filled up and best utilised.
The given stowage factor of a particular cargo will normally take what is called broken
stowage into account. Broken stowage is space lost because of the shape of the
cargo and/or particular requirements in regard to stowing it in the cargo holds. For
example, there may be limitations on how many units or consignments which may be
placed on top of each other. For homogeneous bulk commodities, broken stowage is
usually small. For irregular packages, as often found in typical general cargo lot, it may
be substantial.

Rolls of Newsprint paper stowed on its end

Plan view of the cargo hold (cargo compartment)
Broken stowage

A simple sketch showing the concept of

Broken Stowage.

The stowage factor of any cargo is the volume which a certain amount in weight of
that cargo occupies. It is usually measures in cubic feet per long ton or alternatively in
cubic metres per metric ton. If the stowage factor is 20, it indicates a heavy cargo. If it
is 100, it indicates that the cargo is light.
The stowage factor is important for the loading of cargo in the various means of
transport, as it indicates the amount of the cargo which can go into the holds. Either
the volume or the weight will be the limiting factor. The stowage factors of various
products are given in published stowage tables.
While stowage of goods is important for the utilisation of space in containers and
holds, packaging and stowage must also be carefully considered in relation to
marketing and the needs and specifications of the customers as well as in relation to
minimising damage.
Cargo documents
Goods are carried by sea under a contract of carriage
between the shipper and the shipowner. The shipper
may employ a forwarding agent to arrange the
transport, while the Shipowner may employ a
loading broker to control the allocation of space and
advertise the service, and to make the loading
arrangements and prepare documents on the
shipowner's behalf .
When a shipper wants to send a particular cargo with
a particular ship on a scheduled service, a "shipping
note" for the consignment is completed by the shipper and forwarded to the
shipowner or his agent. This note will have to contain a brief description of the
commodity. The loading broker then compiles a list of the consignments intended for
shipment, the booking list. This is sent to the ship to enable the Master to plan the
stow and to the stevedore to arrange the loading. The shipper may receive a "booking
note", which specifies that the carrier reserves space for a specified volume and kind
of cargo in a named vessel between named ports. The broker may also issue a "calling
forward notice" to the shipper, advising him of the time and place at which he is to
deliver the goods.
When the cargo is delivered to the warehouse or to the ship, a receipt for that cargo
must be obtained by the shipper. When the cargo is placed onboard, this is called a
"mate's receipt". This receipt acknowledges that the goods ha ve been loaded and
have been properly and carefully handled, loaded and stowed. If there are any
damages to the goods before loading, this will be recorded on the receipt, and it is no
longer "clean".
In some trades, it is customary for the shippers to have a "boat note" following the
cargo. When the "boat note" is signed by the cargo officer aboard the ship, it becomes
a "mate's receipt". With many shipping companies it is the practice to give an official
"mate's receipt" irrespective of the fact that a boat note may be provided by the
shipper. Modern practice is to present a copy of the shipping note as the boat note,
which when endorsed, become the "mate's receipt".

Special tally companies are engaged by the shipowner to check or keep record of all
cargo loaded into and discharged from a vessel. This is an essential part of cargo work
in order to prevent claims upon the ship for so-called "short" discharge, i.e. when
some of the cargo is missing. It is sometimes customary for the shipper or consignee
to provide his own tally clerks, particularly with cargoes of a straight nature, such as
bags, bales etc.
A copy of the "mate's receipt" will be returned to the shipowner, so that a "bill of
lading" can be issued to the shipper. The "bill of lading" acknowledges that the goods
have been "shipped in apparent good order and condition" if the "mate's receipt" is
clean. Otherwise, comments are transferred to the "bill of lading". This document is
issued under all forms of shipping, scheduled or not. The complete list of cargo
loaded, as compiled from the "bills of lading" form the "manifest" of the ship.
Customs regulations at most ports require at least one copy of the manifest and
copies are also required for stevedores at discharging ports.
While cargoes are in transit, they may be sold so that the goods change ownership.
Such a sale will be represented by the "bill of lading" changing hands. At the port of
discharge, the consignment will be handed over to the party presenting the original
"bill of lading".
Packaging of Cargo
As mentioned earlier, packaging perform the following three basic functions, which
we may call the three Ps of packaging, namely: protection, preservation and
Guidelines on the choice of packaging
Some broad guidelines to be followed in the choice
of packaging technique include the considerations
which follow.
Goods should be well stowed within the package,
evenly distributed and properly secured. Items
completely filling the case or carton contribute to
the strength of the whole package. Items which do
not completely fill the package must be cushioned
against shock or vibration. There must be adequate internal bracing or securing using
battens (bars of wood) or dunnage (mats, wood shavings, etc.).
Where the consignment consists of a number of small packages, it is preferable to
consolidate them into one load by strapping and securing them to a wooden pallet
base (a portable platform for storing loads). The assembly of cargo into the largest
practical unit consistent with the handling, weight and dimension requirements
reduces the danger of theft to a minimum. There is also the advantage of reduced
handling stresses, as larger units require the use of mechanical handling equipment
rather than crude manual techniques.

Pallet packing is quite suitable for goods carried in containers although they may also
be carried by conventional methods. In this case, however, there is the risk of
breakage during transfer, or on forwarding and handling operations.
In selecting the appropriate type of package, account should be taken of the
probability of cargo being "overstowed" by other packages in warehouses and cargo
Appropriate strapping and banding techniques should be used for all packages.
The regulations of the destination country as well as those of any transit countries
should be checked in order to ensure that they do not prohibit certain types of
packing material, particularly material which is harmful to the environment.
The re-use of second-hand cartons or cases should be avoided as they are more liable
to collapse or and may invite pilferage (stealing in small quantities) if the contents
become exposed.
To improve the handling of bigger volumes of cargo, the design of the package
should match the dimensions of the product so as to save packaging and freight costs.
From the shipper's point of view, it is desirable that the following considerations
should be borne in mind in order to minimize the cost of freight:

in respect of measurement of the cargo, the package should be of minimum


there should be optimum utilization of space within the package; and

goods attracting different freight rates should not be packed together in one
package, in case the carrier charges freight for the whole package at the rate
applicable to the highest-rated commodity.

It is essential that waterproof wrapping for the contents and waterproof lining for
packages should be provided, particularly when the packages are likely to remain in an
unprotected area, such as the customs area.
Over-packaging in the name of protective
packaging should be avoided, in order to make
optimum use of the carrying capacity. This is
particularly important in air transport where
packages are consolidated into pallets, igloos3 or
Powdered or granular material should be packed
preferably in flexible multiwall bags which are
adapted to the requirements of the material,
taking into account its chemical and physical

An aircraft igloo

Igloo: An open front, bottomless, rigid shell made of fiberglass, metal or other suitable materials. The
slope conforms to the contours of the cargo aircraft envelope, i.e. the interior cabin cross-section.

In the case of pressed bales (canvas packages of merchandise), it is advisable to use an
inner wrap of waterproof paper below an outer or primary cover of fiberboard
material, over which heavy jute or a similar cover can be provided before strapping.
In designing or choosing a suitable package, it may be useful to consult, wherever
possible, the consignee and obtain reports from his end about the packaging of
specific products moving on specific routes. It would also be advisable to ascertain
from consignees to what extent handling gear, port equipment, etc., are available at
the port of destination, what inland transportation facilities are available and if the
goods have to be moved to inland centres.
In export packing, consideration should be given to the "presentation" aspect of the
package: the design; colour, embellishment of the packages, which could produce a
favourable reaction in the export market and improve the competitiveness of the
Information required for packaging
The type of packaging required depends on the:

Mode of transport

Final destination

Nature and type of goods



Number of packages

Types of packages

Types of packaging for break bulk cargo

The exporter or seller is usually responsible for packing the goods for break bulk
cargo, whereby a consolidated consignment is broken down on delivery for
distribution to individual consignees. The type of packaging required for any product
varies with the nature and volume of the product as well as the method of transport it
is carried over. Generally the following types of packaging are used:
Bagged cargo
The commodity itself has to be robust to withstand outside
pressure and compression, for the bags will only hold the
contents in one place and will not provide protection against
external damage. Such commodities might typically be
fertilizers, grain (rice, maize, wheat, etc.), seeds, dried fruit,
sugar, coconut, coffee, fresh vegetables, frozen offal (meat

from carcasses), flour, copra, small items such as shells, raisins, etc., mail, salt, mineral
sands and ores, meal (fish, seed, copra, etc.), dried blood, dried milk etc..
Fibreboard boxes and cartons
Fibreboard boxes and cartons are very widely used
for the sake of economy and efficiency. Although
comparatively cheap, they are able to withstand
normal transport hazards and protect the contents
against loss or damage. They may be particularly
suitable in the case of goods carried in containers
from the point of origin to the destination provided
the goods are not fragile. But if the containers have
to be unloaded at the port of discharge for further
transport to their final destination, they may have to be placed on pallets and securely
strapped in order to protect them from pilferage and damage. Depending upon the
nature of the commodities, cartons of the right type of suitable strength and sizes
should be used.
Wooden cases
These have stood the test of time and their main
advantage is that they have the wall strength to support
superimposed loads. They are more expensive than the
carton-type packing due to the cost of wood. Wooden
cases are particularly suitable when the goods are
carried by conventional methods and, when they are
sensitive to heat, dampness, etc. The goods may
require protection by way of packing with layers of
insulating material, tar paper, sealed plastic covering
etc. There are different types of wooden cases,
including those made of plywood, which are being increasingly used by exporters.
Wooden crates
These are suitable for wooden packages built like a
skeleton. The open crate can be used when the
contents are sufficiently resilient to require a
minimal form of packing to facilitate handling and
stowage. Sometimes, it is used as an outer package
to consolidate fibreboard boxes or give cartons extra
protection. The skeleton crate is often used for the
carriage of large pieces of machinery.
For certain trades, the use of hessian-wrapped bales is suitable, particularly when the
product permits pressure baling or compression by banding. It is, however, vulnerable
to pilferage, damage by handling using looks, etc..

Drums, barrels, casks

These are generally used for liquids such as latex, chemicals,
whisky, detergents, oil, molasses, casings, paints, powders,
granules and other solids such as chemicals, cement, some
ores and scrap metal.
Shrink wrapping
Dry chemicals, granular and powdered substances in bags cannot be easily strapped
on to a pallet. When these items have to be unitised, bags are stowed on the pallet and
interlocked; a polythene sheet of suitable gauge is then draped over the bags. This unit
is then passed through a tunnel oven where polythene is heat-sealed tight, binding the
bags to the pallet to form a good unit load.
Lift vans
When household goods such as tables, chairs, cupboards, glassware, brassware, etc.,
have to be moved, especially from one country to another, they have to be packed in
"lift vans" which are unit loads specially built for the purpose. They are generally made
of wood, lined with waterproof material on all sides and additional metallic proofing
on the roof to prevent damage by rain and sun. These units are made to be handled
by forklift trucks and packed in ISO 20 foot containers.
Preservation against corrosion
Machinery when being packed for export by sea has to be preserved against humidity
and corrosion. All the open parts are chemically treated and sometimes greased. The
best preservation is to vacuum-seal the machine. The machine is covered by high
density polythene which is draped aver the unit and heat-sealed. A vacuum pump
then draws the air out of the polythene and the machine is preserved for as long as
one year under vacuum. In lift vans and other packaging, silica gel in sufficient
quantity is used, depending on the volume of the package.
Special cargo
There are also various other types of packages
designed for special commodities moving by
different forms of transport. For example, there are
special types of packages for air shipments of
commodities like fresh vegetables, meat etc. Again
the unit load device (ULD) system adopted for air
transport includes containers of metal and
fibre-glass as well as lightweight pallets. In regard to
shipments of ready-made clothes, the latest
development, garments on hangers (GOH), is that
they are carried on hangers inside containers for delivery in the same condition as they
left to the consignees' premises or to the department stores at their destination.

Special cargoes fall into the following categories:

(a) Bulk commodities - heavy equipment, machinery, etc.
Bulk commodities like ore and food grains, heavy equipment and machinery,
locomotives and structures, do not require packing. They require suitable vessels with
suitable handling gear and the like.
(b) Goods of high value
Goods of high value such as gold and platinum in all forms, coins,
jewellery, live animals, legal banknotes, securities, at present are
mostly moved by air. They need special care and protection. Direct
delivery to the vessel and direct collection upon arrival of the vessel is
(c) Perishables and refrigerated cargo
Perishables and refrigerated cargo like fruits, fresh
vegetables, cheese and meat, are usually carried in suitable
ventilated packages in temperature-controlled holds or in
thermal containers. Loading or unloading operations in
respect of such cargoes have to be carried out quickly or on
a priority basis when the vessel calls at the port, and this is
an aspect to which freight forwarders need to pay special attention.
(d) Live animals
The carriage of live animals requires special arrangements,
such as the erection of cages, the provision of necessary
attendants as well as the right type and amount of animal
food. Possible quarantine regulations in the countries of
origin and destination must be taken into consideration.

(e) Dangerous/Hazardous cargo

This kind of cargo requires special packing, marking and labelling, which is a task
undertaken by the shippers themselves. There is a separate section on the carriage of
dangerous goods later in this manual.
Packing principles relating to cargo in containers
The principles below are applicable to cargo stowage in containers carried by sea, air,
road or rail. This topic will be further discussed and illustrated in the relevant modules
on the carriage of goods by sea, by air and by road and rail.
There are a number of basic principles applicable to the stowage of ALL cargo into
containers. The maxim which summarises this set of principles is: safe container
transport depends chiefly on a correct and immovable stow and an even
weight distribution.

Either the container must be stowed tightly so that lateral and longitudinal
movement of the cargo within it is impossible;

or else the cargo must be effectively restrained.

Tight stowage
This can be achieved by making the shape and the dimensions of the package an
optimum module of the container or making the base of a unit load a module of the
It is always necessary to restrain the cargo for one or more of the following reasons:

To prevent. collapse of the stow while packing, unpacking, or during transit

(e.g., rolls of linoleum on end);

To stop any movement during transit of part-loads or of single heavy items

(e.g., large pieces of machinery) - the heavier the item the more damage it will
do if allowed to move; and

To prevent the "face" of the stow collapsing and leaning against the container
doors to fall out when the doors are opened at the final destination or for
customs inspection.

Methods of securing cargo

The more common methods of securing cargo are:

Shoring - bars, struts and spars located in the cargo voids to

keep the cargo pressed against the walls or other cargo.

Lashing - ropes, wire, chains, strapping or netting secured

Cartons strapped on

to proper anchoring points and tensioned against the cargo.

Wedging - wooden distance pieces, pads of synthetic material, inflatable dunnage to

fill voids in the cargo and keep it immobile against the container walls.

Locking - cargo built up to give a three-dimensional brick wall effect.

Aids to good securing
There is no simple formula to follow when securing cargo. Each stow must be treated
on its own merits - the type of cargo, the way it is stowed, the equipment available, or
the permanent fittings in the container. But the following points should be borne in
mind when applying restraint:

Always use the built-in securing points which are provided. For obvious reasons
comply with the safe loading limitation on the securing points.

Any timber used - i.e., dunnage or filler pieces - should be dry. It may also have to
comply with certain quarantine regulations in force.

If nails have to be used to secure cargo to a wooden floor, they should only
penetrate about two-thirds the thickness of the floor to achieve adequate grip
without total penetration. Holes must not be drilled in walls or floor. Never use
nails in a reefer container (a refrigerated container).

Any shoring which presses against the container wall should have extra timber
laid longitudinally between the wall and point of support to spread the weight
over two or more side posts.

Useful filler pieces for wedging or preventing rubbing, sometimes called chafe,
are old tyres, paper pads softened by soaking (macerated) or, for light packages,
rolled-up cardboard.

Unless an identical stow is anticipated on the return journey (known as a closed

circuit operation) it is best if, when the lashing equipment is chosen, it is
considered re-usable.

How to restrain certain types of cargo

Top-heavy articles should be wedged, shored and lashed to prevent toppling.

Heavy weights should be secured to stout ring-bolts (sited in the container floor
and side walls) and/or be shored with timber. They should be chained or wired
with bottle-screws (e.g., 1/2 in chain; 11/4 inch bottle-screws; three ton D
shackles are adequate for lashing cargo up to 18 tons in weight).

Resilient loads can cause lashings to slacken - this may sometimes be overcome
by introducing elasticity (e.g. rubber rope) into the lashing pattern.

No securing of pallets is necessary (provided the load is properly secured to the

pallet) if the distance between pallets and container walls is 4in (100mm) or less.
Pallets must not be allowed any longitudinal movement. If it is necessary to
secure them, stow the pallets against the container walls and wedge wood blocks
between the pallets. It may be necessary to insert sheets of board between the
pallet loads to protect them against chafing and prevent bags, cartons; etc.,
interweaving and jamming the stowage.

Stowage precautions
In the majority of cases, there is a space (1" to 24") left between the face of the cargo
and the container doors. It is important that the cargo does not collapse into this
space. It can be prevented in a variety of ways, such as:
(a) Using suitably positioned lashing points with wire, rope, strapping, etc., woven
(b) Inserting a simple wooden gate for the wider gaps and heavier cargo

(c) Providing filler pieces i.e., macerated (water-softened) paper pads, wood-wool
pads made of fine shavings and used for packing, etc., for narrower gaps and
lighter cargoes (like cartons of biscuits).
It is also important to ensure that the cargo does not fall out when the container
doors are opened. This is particularly relevant to a container which has been
completely packed (as with cartons or sacks). Although this can sometimes be
achieved by interlocking tiers of packages, it is better to use the fixing points located
in the door posts of general cargo container. Nylon strapping in polypropylene cord
or wire (1/4" diameter or less) threaded through these points forms an effective
Other stowage precautions to be taken are:

Securing the goods in their packages and making the pack itself as full as possible
so as to resist external pressures.

Making packages sufficiently rigid to withstand the weight imposed upon them
when stacked to a minimum height of 8ft.

Making sure, if more than one type of cargo is stowed in a container, that they are
compatible and cannot cause contamination or become contaminated.

Placing heavy items and liquids at the bottom, with light and dry items on the top.

Within practical physical limitations of handling, the unit package should be as large as
possible, since this can reduce costs by up to 20 percent and increase the
efficiency in volume by up to 10 percent.

Where relevant, stowing should be carried out in a sequence which will permit
rapid checking and storage operations during and after unloading. Should the
consignment include cargo subject to customs pre-entry procedures, customs
examination would be made easier and unloading avoided if the cargo were
stowed at the end of the container by the door.

One should try to arrange for any unavoidable gap in the stowage to be along the
centre line of the container and not at the sides. It is much easier and cheaper to
restrain the shifting of cargo in this way.

A lighted cigarette end can destroy the contents of a container and even endanger
the ship. When stowing a container the rule should therefore be NO

Load factors
Heavy loads must be assessed according to their shape, dimension and weight. However, as a guide, the weight or loads should be distributed over the container floor by
means of suitable bearers or dunnage as follows:
(a) Width: distribution should be over the entire width of the container;

(b) Length: each ton weight of cargo should be spread over at least two floor
members, which run transversely under the container floor at 1 foot centres (e.g.,
a 13 ton integral load would require to be distributed over 14 floor members i.e.,
14 foot run of container floor).
The total load should be distributed as evenly as possible, but in certain circumstances
the closed end half of the container can carry more than 65 per cent, or conversely the
door end half more than 60 per cent, of the total load.