Sea Freight

A Types of Cargo Shipped By Sea Freight Transport

Businesses around the world depend on maritime transport for delivering their products or gaining access to their raw materials. With the expansion of businesses, especially e-commerce, volumes of maritime trade are expected to multiply three times by 2050. The sea cargo industry has become the backbone of global trade. However, sea freight forwarding needs to take care of the freight so that it is delivered safely and securely. It must first classify the cargo before shipping it.

Following are the main kinds of cargo shipped by sea freight transport:

Container cargo

It refers to cargo transported in containers using intermodal transport. Such containers are massive in size and can be used to transport huge amounts of goods. Typical container cargo includes toys, clothing, electronics and other such items. Such cargo is loaded and unloaded using machines. The sizes of containers are usually fixed.

Liquid bulk

As the name suggests, liquid cargo is composed of goods in liquid form and shipped in bulk amounts. Typically transported by ships, liquid bulk is a vital kind of cargo; this cargo has critical domestic and economic importance.

Liquid bulk comprises fuels and other oils. It is made of cargo like vegetable oils, crude oil, petrol, alcoholic beverages and unprocessed beverages. The best mode of transporting liquid bulk is shipping.

However, since liquid bulk is highly risky and unstable, the complete cargo hold is designed to be double-shelled and fitted with a double bottom to prevent cargo leakage in case of a collision.

Dry bulk

Dry bulk cargo refers to dry materials like cement, sand, coal, iron ore and even edible items like grains, sugar and salt. This cargo is not usually packed and is transported in bulk amounts. It is loaded and unloaded from the hold of the ship. Transport of dry bulk items also involves the use of lorries and wagons. The infrastructure and food industry depend much on the transport of dry bulk items.

Break bulk

These are goods that will not fit in standardised cargo bins and shipping containers. As such, the loads are transported in barrels, crates, boxes, bags etc. Examples of these are paper, wood, unprocessed metals, rolls of steel etc. When they are packed, they are easier to move, load and unload. The best part about such cargo is that it has no other problems of transport.


This cargo comprises live animals. The toughest part is taking care of these animals during the process of transport. Key aspects include taking care of their nutrition and health needs. Additionally, the livestock has to be kept clean, and the mode of transport needs adequate ventilation.


The term Ro-Ro refers to Roll On- Roll Off. In basic terms, it refers to cargo that can be moved by rolling i.e. vehicles. Ro-Ro cargo refers to all kinds of vehicles ranging from cars and bikes to trucks and tractors. No matter what the size of the vehicles, they can be transported around the world by sea freight forwarders.

Refrigerated cargo

This cargo is made of perishable items like frozen and packaged food items and medicines. Such items are typically transported by reefer vessels, which are refrigerated ships that prevent the decay of items transported. Goods are kept intact and safe because of specially constructed features to control temperature.  Typical items include fruits, vegetables, meat and fish.

In sum, ships are so designed to carry various kinds of materials or cargo. Sea-borne transport is one of the cheapest means of transport and is highly reliable when designed to accommodate various kinds of cargo.