marine engineering

Home page||Ship employment ||

Cargo stowage plan for general cargo ships

What is a cargo plan

A ship’s cargo plan shows the distribution as well as the disposition of all parcels of cargo aboard the vessel.The plan is formulated usually from the workbooks of the ‘deck officers’, a fair copy being produced before departure from the final port of loading. This allows copies of the plan to be made before the vessel sails.The copies are forwarded to agents at ports of discharge to allow the booking and reservation of labour, as appropriate.

It is important to plan in advance, both at the shore terminal and offshore to aid effective cargo securing. The objective of pre-planning is the safe and practical restraint of cargo carried on the deck of offshore support vessels so that personnel, ship and cargo may be reasonably protected at all stages of carriage, and during cargo operations offshore.

The cargo plan should include 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.The port of discharge is normally ‘highlighted’ in one specific colour, reducing the likelihood of a parcel of cargo being overcarried to the next port. Cargoes which may have an optional port of discharge are often double-coloured to the requirements of both ports.

Additional information, such as the following, generally appears on most plans:

i) Name of the vessel.

ii) Name of the Master.

iii) List of loading ports.

iv) List of discharging ports, in order of call.

v) Sailing draughts.

vi) Tonnage load breakdown.

vii) Hatch tonnage breakdown.

viii) Voyage number.

ix) Total volume of empty space remaining.

x) List of dangerous cargo, if any.

xi) List of special cargo, if any.

xii) Statement of deadweight, fuel, stores,water etc.

xiii) Details of cargo separations.

xiv) Recommended temperatures for the carriage of various goods.

xv) Chief officer’s signature.


The plan provides at a glance the distribution of the cargo and shows possible access to it in the event of fire or the cargo shifting. Its most common function is to limit overcarriage and the possibility of short delivery at the port of discharge. It also allows cargo operations, stevedores, rigging equipment, lifting gear and so on to be organised without costly delays to the ship.

All cargo should be stowed having due regard to the order of discharge. When planning the position of cargo and the order of loading and unloading, the effects that these operations will have upon access and the safety of personnel should be considered. The following points should be taken into account:

i) cargo information, including gross mass of the cargo or cargo units and any special properties detailed on board or in the shipping documents, should be recorded and used in planning;

ii) wherever practicable, where more than one port is involved for loading or unloading, cargo should be loaded in layers rather than in tiers, so as to avoid the development of high vertical walls of cargo;

iii) care should be taken not to overstow lighter cargoes with heavier cargoes which may lead to a collapse of the stow;

iv) wherever practicable, cargo should be stowed so as to leave safe clearance behind the rungs of hold ladders and to allow safe access as may be necessary at sea;

v) the need to walk across or climb onto deck cargo, where this may involve an approach to an unprotected edge with risk of falling, should be minimised;

vi) care should be taken to avoid large gaps next to cargo where it is stacked against corrugated bulkheads.


Deck cargo should be stowed in accordance with the statutory regulations, and kept clear of hatch coamings to allow safe access. Access to safety equipment, fire fighting equipment (particularly fire hydrants) and sounding pipes should also be kept free. Any obstructions in the access way such as lashings or securing points should be painted white to make them more easily visible. Where this is impracticable and cargo is stowed against ship's rails or hatch coamings to such a height that the rails or coamings do not give effective protection to personnel from falling overboard or into the open hold, temporary fencing should be provided .




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 .
    More .....

  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.
    More .....

  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;.
    More .....

  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. .
    More .....

  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 .
    More .....

  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. .
    More .....

  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.
    More .....

  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. .
    More .....

  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..
    More .....

  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. .
    More .....

  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. .
    More .....

  23. Methods of ventilation

  24. The holds of most dry cargo ships are ventilated by a mechanical supply and natural exhaust system .
    More .....

  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..
    More .....

  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, .
    More .....

  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 .
    More .....



Machinery system main info pages

Home page||Cooling ||Machinery||Services ||Valves ||Pumps ||Auxiliary Power ||Propeller shaft ||Steering gears ||Ship stabilizers||Refrigeration||Air conditioning ||Deck machinery||Fire protection||Ship employment ||


Home ||




General Cargo Ship.com provide information on cargo ships various machinery systems -handling procedures, on board safety measures and some basic knowledge of cargo ships that might be useful for people working on board and those who working in the terminal. For any remarks please Contact us


Copyright © 2010-2016 General Cargo Ship.com All rights reserved.
Terms and conditions of use
Read our privacy policy|| Home page||