Understanding the Different Types of Cargo

Understanding the Different Types of Cargo

When it comes to today’s global economy, cargo transportation is an important part of it.

Now it has become easier than ever to transport goods from one place to another. The direct credit for this goes to technological advancement.

However, for different items, there are specific types of cargo. The procedure and equipment to handle this cargo are very different from one another.

In this blog on Landing Logistics, you will learn about different types of cargo. You will also get to know many other things about cargo, like:

  • Their handling requirements
  • The challenges that come with each type

Overview of Cargo Types

It is very important to differentiate these cargoes from the perspective of global trade and logistics. Cargo can be broadly classified into:

  • General cargo
  • Special cargo

Note: Here, the characteristics and handling requirements of both are very different.

Goods transported in general cargo may include consumer products, machinery, and a wide variety of other goods.
However, the nature or size of some items is such that they require specialized handling and transportation. All such items are mostly shipped via special cargo.

It is important to understand these different types of cargo. So that we can maintain efficient shipping and transportation.

We can optimize the movement of goods using the following methods:

  • Dry bulk
  • Liquid bulk
  • Air freight
  • Break bulk

What constitutes general cargo?

Common examples of general cargo are food items, automobiles, and office supplies. Liquid cargo (chemicals and petroleum products) is included in addition to dry cargo (packed commodities).

A safe shipment requires careful packing and handling.

Intermodal containers are often used for carrying general commodities. Logistics companies are crucial in coordinating their transit and delivery.

Also Read, Sourcing the Parts, Orchestrating the Process: Understanding Procurement vs Supply Chain

Noteworthy Aspects of Special Cargo

The term “special cargo” is used to describe items that need unusual care and shipping owing to their size or other qualities. Dangerous commodities, perishable items, bulky machinery, living creatures, and more all fall under this umbrella.

Certain rules and safeguards must typically be followed while transporting unusual material. Logistics suppliers need specialists who are well-versed in the unique issues posed by this kind of cargo.

Proper packing, temperature control, and specialist equipment are typically required for the transportation of unusual goods.

By taking these steps, international trade will be safer and more efficient, as commodities will be carried out in optimal conditions.

The logistics sector is crucial in the organization and delivery of several types of unusual goods.

Also Read, How do I find an international freight forwarder?

A Deep Dive into Specific Types of Cargo

Companies engaged in shipping and logistics must have a thorough understanding of the many kinds of goods. There are certain factors to take into account for each distinct kind of freight.

Businesses may improve shipping efficiency by tailoring their methods to the requirements of various cargo types. With this information in hand, they may choose the best packing, shipping method, and logistics partner for their needs.

In addition, knowing how to handle certain cargoes helps companies better manage their supply chain and cater to their clientele.

Understanding the differences between dry bulk cargo, liquid bulk cargo, break bulk cargo, and air freight is crucial for any company looking to participate in the global market.

Also Read, The Beginner’s Guide to Freight Forwarding

Bulk Cargo: An Overview

Coal, grain, ores, and petroleum are all examples of bulk cargo since they are delivered in large quantities but not in containers. It is often transported by bulk carriers or tankers, which are specialized boats.

Bulk cargo requires specific equipment and infrastructure at ports and terminals to be handled effectively.

Transporting and managing bulk freight efficiently is dependent on logistics companies that specialize in this area.

The finest feasible dry and liquid bulk cargo conditions are used, allowing for streamlined transport over air, sea, and land. Their impact on the international economy and maritime sector is substantial.

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Special Cargo Categories

Different sorts of special cargo exist, each with its own unique set of needs and specifications. Dangerous items, huge machinery, living animals, and perishables all fall into this category. There are prescribed methods for treating each classification and rules that must be followed.

Logistics service providers that specialize in handling this kind of unusual cargo guarantee the safe and prompt delivery of these items. In order to keep their goods in pristine condition throughout travel, companies in the shipping and logistics industries need to be well-versed in the specifics of each category.

Also Read, Difference between direct and indirect freight unloading

Shipping Cars and Other Vehicles

There are a number of options for transporting automobiles and other vehicles, including container shipping and roll-on/roll-off (Ro-Ro) shipping. To keep the cars safe during transportation, proper loading and securing methods are required.

Thanks to the insurance that shipping companies offer, vehicles are safe during transport. It’s possible that you’ll need to go through paperwork and customs clearance in order to send a car internationally.

Shipping automobiles and other vehicles instead of driving or dragging them long distances might be a more cost-effective option. Vehicles may be delivered to their destinations in pristine condition if suitable transportation procedures are used and regulations are followed.

How has the nature of cargo transportation evolved over the years?

Many forces have contributed to shaping freight transportation’s history. Intermodal containers were a game-changer, and technological developments improved tracking and monitoring. Greener procedures were developed in response to environmental concerns, while bigger boats were a result of globalization. Logistics were optimized thanks to digital integration and automation.

Also Read, Logistics vs. Operations vs. Supply Chain


What are the different types of cargo?

Different types of cargo include food, livestock, gas-based fuels, vehicles, machinery, equipment, factory parts, and dry bulk cargo.

How do you classify cargo?

Cargo is classified into liquid, loose (dry cargo), and live cargo based on their physical properties in the transport classification system.

What is the difference between general cargo and bulk cargo?

General cargo ships transport goods and materials from one port to another, while bulk carriers, like bulkers or dry bulkers, transport large amounts of unpackaged bulk cargo like iron ore, coal, cereal, salt, aluminum, and copper ore.

What are the challenges of transporting different types of cargo?

The challenges of transporting cargo include high bulk order intensity ratios, fuel cost increases, unexpected transportation delays, a shortage of skilled personnel, possible warehousing conditions, and inadequate and overstressed delivery staff.

How do you ensure the safe transportation of cargo?

To ensure safe cargo transportation, cargo must be secured to prevent rotation, deformation, wandering, rolling, tipping, or sliding.