A freight forwarder, or forwarding agent, can organize shipments with carriers to move cargo from place A to place B. And in the world of logistics and freight forwarding, almost anything can be shipped from its origin to a destination. But different types of cargo require different methods of transportation. The cargo category decides on what type of container it gets shipped in, and how it gets processed once it enters customs clearance.
What Are the Different Categories of Cargo?
- General Cargo
- Bulk Cargo
- Special Cargo
In the freight forwarding industry, the term general cargo refers to goods that can be transported individually in one piece. These include palletized goods, packages, barrels, or boxes. General cargo is unitized, and each general cargo container load has a defined way of measuring the units it contains.
What falls under the umbrella of general cargo?
- Breakbulk: drums, pallets, boxes, etc. Read about breakbulk shipping here: Everything You Need To Know About Breakbulk Cargo Shipping
- Neo-bulk: goods that are prepackaged, and counted as they are loaded and unloaded, but not stored in containers. Examples include: heavy machinery, lumber, paper, bundled steel, vehicles, etc.
- Containerized: cargo that is transported within containers. Read about containerized shipping here: What Is Container Stuffing and Container Stripping?
Bulk cargo is often referred to as loose cargo. These types of shipments are comprised of items that do not require packaging or are weirdly shaped and cannot be shipped within containers, or cargo that cannot be strapped down to a pallet. Learn more details about bulk cargo here: An Introduction to Loose Cargo
What is classified as bulk cargo?
- Liquid Cargo: gas, milk, petrol, etc.
- Dry Bulk: coal, grains, gravel, sand, etc.
As the name suggests, special cargo pertains to the different types of cargo that need to undergo special shipping procedures. Their initial documentation, handling, and loading processes will all be different and specific to the type of cargo being transported.
What are some examples of special cargo?
- Dangerous Goods: also known as hazardous goods. Examples include: flammable items, compressed gas, chemicals, etc. Read more about dangerous goods here: Transporting Hazardous Goods: Basic Shipping Guidelines
- Fragile Cargo: antique items, art pieces, glassware, porcelain, bone china, etc. Fragile items need to be securely packed in containers and surrounded by enough packing materials like bubble wrap or packing peanuts.
- Heavy/Oversized Cargo: cranes, industrial equipment, construction materials, etc. Read more about heavy cargo here: Everything You Need to Know About Oversized Loads
- Perishable Cargo: foodstuffs, medical supplies, etc. These shipments are incredibly sensitive to temperature changes and storage climate. Learn about food and medical shipping in these blog posts: What Is Temperature Controlled Shipping? | Providing or Choosing Medical Logistic Services?
Have Any Questions? SFI Can Help!
Consider working with SFI today! We work with packaging industries, and can handle cargo transportation, regardless of which category it falls under. If you need any assistance regarding freight forwarding, contact SFI today and we’ll take care of your shipping needs. We have professionals ready to help resolve any shipping problems you may have. Email us at email@example.com or call us at (909) 594-3400.