Various commodities carried by general cargo ships

Stowage methods and precautions

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.

The planned procedures for the handling of cargo should be agreed with berth or terminal operators in advance of loading or unloading. In the case of dry bulk cargo (excluding grain), procedures should follow the IMO Code of Practice for the Safe Loading and Unloading of Bulk Carriers, with the associated IMO Ship/Shore Safety Check List. For grain there is more detailed guidance in the International Code for the Safe Carriage of Grain in Bulk.

Loading, stowage and securing of cargo other than bulk cargo is to be carried out in accordance with the ship's approved Cargo Securing Manual.

Handling various commodities on board general cargo ships need extra caution . Below is our guideline prior shipment of different cargoes ( reference only ). One must also be guided by practice of good seamanship.

Bagged Cargo (paper bags)

These should be stowed on double dunnage. Ideally the first layer should be stowed athwartships on vessels equipped with side bilge systems. Steelwork should be covered by brown paper or matting to prevent bags making contact.Torn bags should be refused on loading. Canvas rope slings should be made up in the hatchway centre to avoid dragging and bursting bags. Hooks should never be used with paper bag cargoes.When stowing, bag on bag stow is good for ventilation, whereas bag on half bag is poor for ventilation but good for economical use of space.


Stowed ‘bung’ uppermost on wood beds, in a fore and aft direction. ‘Quoins’ are used to prevent movement of the cargo when the vessel is in a seaway. Barrels should never be stowed more than eight high.

Bulk coal loading
Fig: Bulk coal loader incorporating centralised dust control system

Coal (bulk)

Check that bilge suctions are in working order and that limber boards are tight fitting. Remove all spar ceiling, stow in the ’tween deck, and cover with a tarpaulin or other similar protection. Plug ’tween deck scuppers. Remove all dunnage and make arrangements for obtaining temperatures at all levels if engaged on a long voyage. Ensure that the coal levels are well trimmed and provide the compartment with surface ventilation whenever weather conditions permit.


As it is liable to spontaneous combustion, it should be kept dry and clear of steelwork surfaces, which are liable to sweat. Copra beetle will get into any other cargoes which are stowed in the same compartment.


Bales are liable to spontaneous combustion, so that the hold must be dry and clean, free of oil stains etc. Adequate dunnage should be laid and all steelwork covered to prevent contact with cargo.Wet and damaged bales should be rejected at the loading port.

Hoses and fire appliances should be on hand and readily available during the periods of loading, fire wires being rigged fore and aft.

Edible Oils

Deep tank stow, for which the tank must be thoroughly cleaned, inspected, and a certificate issued by a surveyor.

Heating coils will be required, and these should be tested during the period of preparation of the space. All inlets and outlets from the tank should be blanked off. Shippers’ instructions with regard to carriage temperatures should be strictly adhered to. A cargo log of these temperatures should be kept. Extreme care should be taken on loading to leave enough ‘ullage’ for expansion of the oil during passage. Overheating should never be allowed to occur, as damage to the oil will result.


Susceptible to damage from moisture or by tainting from other cargoes, it should never be stowed with fruit, new timber or grain. Should a fire occur during passage,‘dust explosions’ are liable from this cargo.


Usually carried in refrigerated spaces, especially over long sea passages, it may also be carried chilled under forced ventilation.However, regular checks should be made on ventilation system and compartment temperatures. This cargo gives off CO2 and will consequently require careful ventilation throughout the voyage.

Glass (Crates)

Crates of glass should never be stowed flat, but on their edge, on level deck space. Plate glass should be stowed athwartships and window glass in the fore and aft line, each crate being well secured by chocks to prevent movement when the vessel is at sea. Overstowing by other cargoes should be avoided.


These should be stowed in the fore and aft line, on level deck space.They should be well secured against pitching and rolling of the vessel by rope lashings. Fuel tanks should be nearly empty. Close inspection should be made at the point of loading, any damage being noted on acceptance.

Related info:

How to use pesticides on board and general requirement

Ventilation methods for various commodities shipped on board general cargo ship

Handling precautions for refrigerated cargo on board

How to Packing a Container

Choice of packaging - cargo ships guideline

Containerised deck cargo rules

The great advantages of containerised cargo

How to utilise maximum hold space during cargo ships loading of break bulk cargo ?

General guidance various special cargoes carrier at sea

Securing of containers prior sailing

General Cargo provide information on general cargo 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 ashore in the terminal. For any remarks please Contact us

Copyright © 2010 General Cargo All rights reserved.

General Cargo

General cargo ship

Home page

How to Packing a Container

Planning of cargo stowage

Cargo handling gears

Corrosion prevention & Use of marine paints

Cargo trade & ships employment

Cargo work safe practice

Cargo packaging requirement

Fire prevention methods

Various commodities shipped in cargo ships

Means of access for cargo ships

Basic knowledge of ship design

Stresses in ship structures

How to assign cargo ships loadlines ?

Terms and conditions of use

Read our privacy policy