General cargo (or break-bull cargo) - all kinds of processed product and finished product, which is moved in bulk or prepackaged. It is characterized by a constant external form of load, and possibility to isolate smaller cargo units, that are not subject to further division in handling and reloading. It has different external dimensions and different characteristics, and in addition value of one unit is much higher than in the bulk cargo. General cargo require special care in transit and handling. In contrast to bulk cargoes, content of one unit of general cargo can be weighted. General cargoes due to small volume, could be included in bigger consolidated shipments. Individual loads of many senders are collected and combined by the freight forwarder, and then sent as a one bigger load to individual customers.
- low weight of one consignment,
- different shape and packaging,
- dispersion of senders and recipients,
- the client pays for the actual weight of the goods, vehicle is chosen by the shipper and its size does not affect the rate of shipping.
- bill of lading is issued for a collective load of the vehicle.
Advantages of general cargo
- possibility of adjust the size of the supply to the customer needs,
- just in time delivery,
- no need for storage of stocks of goods,
- reduced costs associated with their storage, internal logistics, etc.
Disadvantages of general cargo
- lower efficiency compared to whole vehicle (container) cargo,
- under-utilization of the cargo space in trucks and the warehouse,
- the need for transfer small consignments to and from terminal,
- the need for a variety of handling equipment and diverse instrumentation.
- Vigarié A., From break-bulk to containers: the transformation of general cargo handling and trade, "GeoJournal", May 1999, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp. 3-7