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Bulk Shipping Products – Essential Things to Know

June 28, 2024

7 min read

Bulk shipping has become an essential requirement for many businesses across industries. It is an excellent way to enhance supply chain efficiency and lower the expenditure associated with the same. The global dry bulk shipping market size reportedly reached USD 337156.44 million in 2022. 

Different bulk shipping methods have been designed to match diverse business requirements. These include bulk vessels, dry bulk liners, ISO tank containers, flexitanks, and IBC totes and drums. In addition to saving costs, these shipping methods offer logistical benefits.
In this article, you’ll acquire extensive information about bulk shipping, including its various methods, costs involved, documentation requirements, bulk shipping products, regulatory compliance, and more.

Bulk Shipping Products

What is Bulk Shipping?

Bulk shipping, as the term suggests, is a method in which a large number of items are clubbed and shipped together. It is a preferred choice for shipping raw materials that do not need to be packed separately. This includes both dry and liquid commodities such as chemicals, oils, food grains and coal, among other things. 
The market is predicted to rise at a compound yearly growth rate of 5.37% in the coming years and reach USD 461552.79 by 2028. Different bulk shipping methods ship different raw materials to the manufacturing units. Bulk shipping is also used to transport certain kinds of finished goods to retailers. Massive containers are used to ship them safely. This method of shipping has gained popularity among businesses of all sizes, mainly owing to its cost-effectiveness and efficiency.

Overview of Bulk Shipping Methods

Let’s take a closer look at the various bulk shipping methods:

Bulk Vessel

These are suitable for dry as well as liquid bulk shipping services. Different kinds of vessels are used to ship both these categories of items. Bulk carriers that have the capacity to accommodate tons of dry cargo are useful for shipping grains, coals, cement and other similar items. Likewise, fuels, lubricants, liquid fertilisers, oils and other liquid products are shipped in large quantities in huge tankers specially designed for this purpose.

ISO Tank Containers

Made from stainless steel, these containers are exclusively designed to export liquids in bulk quantities safely and efficiently. A standard 20-foot container steel framework surrounds them. They have the capacity of carrying 24,000 to 26,000 litres of cargo. They can be transported from one place to another via rail, road, or sea.


These flexible containers, also known as flexibags, are installed in standard shipping containers and used to transport non-hazardous liquids. They are a good choice for transporting a huge volume of liquid cargo.

Dry Bulk Liners

If you are looking to transport dry commodities like polymers, grains, and powders in large quantities, dry bulk liners are an ideal choice. These are designed to carry such dry bulk shipping products in standard shipping containers. You can easily load them in bulk liners and ship them safely.

IBC Totes and Drums

Both hazardous and non-hazardous liquids can be carried using these small containers. They can store around 1 cubic meter of liquid. Businesses transporting small quantities of liquids can use IBC totes and drums.

5 Key Considerations for Bulk Shipping

Here are the key things to be considered for bulk shipping:

Ensuring Product Compatibility and Proper Packaging

It is essential to make use of the right kind of packaging materials to safeguard your goods while shipping. You must pay close attention to the type of material used to pack your products for bulk shipping. 

For instance, it is recommended to use bubble wrap while transporting delicate goods such as show pieces, electronic items, or crockery. Selecting the appropriate form and size of the package is also crucial. This helps maximise the utilisation of the available space as it becomes easier to stack the packages.

Adhering to Regulatory Compliance and Documentation

There are clear legal regulations regarding the kind of packaging materials to be used to pack different types of items during bulk shipping. It is essential to follow these rules for a smooth transition, especially when sending your goods overseas. Failure to do so can result in delays. You might even have to incur a fine due to non-compliance. Shipping hazardous goods without fulfilling regulatory compliance can even pose risks to the environment.

Your bulk shipment must also be accompanied by proper documentation. This includes a bill of lading, freight bill, shipper’s declaration, commercial invoice, export permit, certificate of origin, certificate of quality, sea, air, or rail waybill, cargo plan, certificate of readiness, packing list, customs bond, and certificate of fitness to proceed, among other documents.

Conducting Cost Analysis and Promoting Sustainability

It is important to consider the shipping costs before opting for bulk shipping. This can be determined by considering your cargo’s material, dimensions, and weight. Cost analysis can help you choose efficient packaging, which in turn can help you save substantially. It is recommended to opt for sustainable packaging. This contributes to a greener and healthier environment and appeals to environmentally conscious customers.

Optimising Handling and Transportation Efficiency

It is important to load, unload, or handle the cargo efficiently and ensure it is shipped securely. Inefficiency in handling the same can result in losses for the exporter as well as the shipment company. Bulk packaging done using the right material eases the process. It saves the shipment from getting damaged during transit. It also helps in making the optimal use of the container space.

Selecting a Trustworthy Supplier

You must select a trustworthy supplier to ensure a smooth transition of your bulk shipping products. You must assess the knowledge of the supplier, years of experience in the field, the kind of packing materials used, pricing, modes of delivery, and turnaround time before finalising the deal. Collaborating with a reliable supplier ensures timely deliveries, which enhances customer satisfaction.

Determining the Best Bulk Shipping Method for Your Cargo

It is important to understand the key differences between different shipping methods to determine the best fit. The various kinds of shipping methods are explained in detail above. As stated, you may use bulk vessels to transport dry or liquid bulk orders. You can opt for bulk carriers ranging up to 400,000 metric tons in size. If you require shipping small packages, IBC totes and drums are a good choice. Likewise, you can use flexibags to ship non-hazardous liquids. Dry bulk liners, on the other hand, are suitable for shipping dry items.

You should have a clear understanding of the product type, weight, volume size, customer expectation and destination. All these factors play a key role in determining the bulk shipping method for your cargo.


Bulk shipping is gaining popularity among businesses owing to its cost-effectiveness. Various kinds of goods are shipped using different bulk shipping methods. Some of these methods have exclusively been designed for dry bulk shipping products such as grains, minerals, iron ore, cement, bauxite and steel. Others are apt for shipping liquids such as chemicals, oils, juices, petrol, diesel, solvents and the like. 

Bulk vessels enable the shipment of both liquid and dry items. It is vital to choose the right shipping method and use the right kind of packaging to ensure a smooth and efficient transition. Seeking assistance from a reputed shipping company like SR Cargo can be helpful in this regard.

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