Break Bulk Cargo

A term used in the shipping industry that refers to a procedure in which goods must be loaded individually, rather than in intermodal containers. The break-bulk method requires the transporters to individually add packages via crane onto a ship. The term derives from the extraction process required of individually breaking up and removing the cargo from a ship at port. Break bulk cargo was the most common form of cargo shipping, until the explosion of intermodal containerization in 1956. The new form of shipping allowed cargo to be unloaded more efficiently off the ships and onto the shipping docks, thereby reducing process times.

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