What is bulk goods transport and how does it operate?

Something as common as adding salt to our food, drinking a glass of milk or filling up our car with fuel would be an impossible task if it were not for the transport of thousands of tonnes of bulk goods day after day the length and breadth of the world. An endless amount of commodities are transported day after day thanks to this type of cargo, and we will explain below what this type of cargo consists of, as well as its characteristics and the most general types that are used.

We are firstly going to classify goods according to their type, even though there are other ways of cataloging them as well. Thus, depending on the type of cargo, we can distinguish between unitary or general cargo and bulk cargo. In the case of general merchandise, the goods are transported in containers or packages (TEU containers, sacks, pallets, etc.) and the total cargo is counted in units. Bulk cargo, on the other hand, is anything that is transported in large quantities without packaging or packing, where the means of transport itself acts as a container. Volume or mass measurements are used to quantify cargo in these cases.

There are many different types of bulk cargo. That is why it is possible to distinguish between solid bulk goods and liquid bulk goods within this category, where each package will require a specific mode of transport, as well as a different method of handling. For this reason, the proper handling of these types of goods requires proper machinery and instruments for their handling, especially when dealing with potentially dangerous products (such as fuels or chemical products, which could pollute the environment if spilt). In this regards, we at Bilogistik, a company specialized in logistics, have a wide range of experience in transport and storage services of all types of goods, as well as those classified as dangerous, in order to offer a comprehensive service to our customers that meets all their needs.

Solid bulk goods

Solid or dry bulk goods are any materials that can be dispatched in the factory itself, mine, field or location of origin of the material and generally involving the use of cranes, silos, hoppers or conveyor belts for their stowage. This type of cargo is very varied, due to the fact that they could include grains such as soy or wheat, minerals such as coal or bauxite, chemicals such as fertilizers or resins and other elements such as wood or salt, for example.

Bulk carriers are used to ship these types of goods, involving large merchant vessels specially designed for the carriage of solid bulk They consist of a single running deck that contains several hatchways, usually odd, and sliding gates on one or both sides where hatch covers are placed. These large volume ships can have a deadweight of 200,000 tons, although the more specialized ones support lower loads, such as aluminum or cement carrier ships.

Liquid bulk goods

Liquid bulk goods, on the other hand, are any material that can flow freely, normally loaded and unloaded from the ship using pipelines and pumping stations. Unlike solid bulk cargo, this type of bulk is transported in tanks or deposits specifically designed to hold liquid materials. These types of goods include chemicals or food in liquid form (such as vegetable oil), oil and natural gas, as well as their derivatives

Gas, oil and its derivatives are goods that are often shipped. The type of liquid cargo means that they must be transported in ships specially designed for this purpose. These types of vessels are responsible for transporting the different types of liquid bulk in their tanks or deposits subject to stringent safety measures. In fact, most of the tankers and oil tankers that are shipped round the world are built with double hulls to increase the strength of their structures, to the detriment of the single-hull type that was more common in times past. Like bulk carriers, these are large vessels, although in this case they can withstand a deadweight of over 400,000 tons.

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