Are you curious to know about bulk shipping? Then you’ve reached the perfect blog. Find out everything there is to know about this method of shipping and get ready to send out that bulk shipment.

If your company has a large order of goods that need to be shipped out, you’ll need a container at the earliest. Narrowing down the type and condition of the containers can be a hassle and a costly affair. And what about the supplier? They need to be certified and safe too.

To help your company out with this endeavor, our online neutral marketplace for containers is at your service. On Container xChange, you’ll find 50,000 containers to choose from in 2,500+ locations worldwide.

You’ll also get to work with 1000+ certified companies to guarantee your safety when it comes to procuring containers. All our members on the xChange platform go through a mandatory vetting process. This is to ensure that you only work with verified names.

As for the costs, we offer full market transparency with competitive pricing and zero commissions and hidden fees. So, you only get affordable deals with us that work well with your company’s budget. You can see all the prices stated upfront, so you can compare the prices with each other and choose what’s best for you.

Before we move ahead if you have a box in mind for your bulk shipment, try out our public search below to find container offers in your location. Enter your location and container type and hit search to find your box.

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What is bulk shipping?

Now let’s jump right into bulk shipping. Bulk shipping refers to the shipping of large quantities of goods that are loaded onto shipping vessels without packaging. These goods are placed in the hold of a ship (a space for carrying cargo in the ship’s compartment). For example, let’s say you have a large shipment of grains that need to be transported from Africa to Germany. The grains have to be loaded into the vessel’s hold directly using cranes or other equipment.

Bulk shipments are carried on specially-built bulk carrier ships that are designed to transfer these goods around the world. Bulk shipping is used when you have to transport big measures of cargo on bulk carrier ships that can make long trips across the ocean, so they’re not ideal for just-in-time inventory shipments.

Just-in-time is an inventory model where raw materials you use or products you sell are delivered to your warehouse only as you need them. So, you need these items swiftly at your corner, which bulk shipping doesn’t deliver. Because this form of shipping is only meant for long-distance cargo transport that takes time to reach the destination.

bulk shipping

How does bulk shipping work?

Bulk shipping works through three steps: storage, loading, and unloading.

1. Port storage- Your bulk goods are stored at the ports where they are shipped from. This means your goods are left in a port facility until it’s time for shipping them.
2. Loading onto ships- Once the vessel arrives your bulk cargo is loaded into the hold of the ship by a large crane or conveyer belt or other modes.
3. Unloading at the destination port- When your cargo reaches the destination, your goods are loaded onto trucks for the final leg of the delivery.

What determines bulk shipping prices?

When it comes to bulk shipping, freight rates are usually calculated in dollars per ton of cargo. For example, the bulk freight rate to ship coal from Indonesia to India would be approximately US $20 per metric ton.

Note: It’s subject to changes based on the global and shipping economy. And in some cases, shipowners charge per diem freight rates.

The price of bulk shipments is dependent on other factors as well. There are around 4 factors that affect the prices, which are as follows:

1. Shipment size and weight- The bigger and weightier your bulk shipment is, the higher the cost is going to be.
2. Distance traveled- Here again the longer the bulk shipment has to travel to reach its destination the pricier it will be.
3. Freight class- This looks into factors like the density and the value of the bulk shipment, i.e., how susceptible your items are to damage and the product’s handling characteristics. Delicate and valuable goods usually have higher freight classification, hence higher freight rates.
4. Dimensional weight- The dimensional weight is a standard formula that considers the shipment’s density to determine shipping costs. For example, goods that are light in weight but take up a lot of space will be charged by dimensional weight. A large number of pillows would make for a good example here for cargo that can be charged by dimensional weight.

Benefits of bulk shipping

Bulk shipping is a process through which millions of goods are transported around the world every day. If you have copious amounts of goods to transport bulk shipping can be beneficial to you. Mainly, bulk shipping can be very useful for bulk industrial or agricultural items such as corn, wheat, iron ore, and coal.

This form of shipping can help many businesses ensure that their cycle inventory (a portion of inventory that a seller cycles through to fulfill regular sales orders) is taken care of. Bulk shipping is also an outstanding and cost-saving e-commerce shipping solution for those selling wholesale.

As you can see it has its benefits, but what exactly is a bulk shipment? Let’s find out.

What is a bulk shipment?

There’s been a lot of talk about bulk shipping, but bulk shipping would not be possible without a bulk shipment. So, what is a bulk shipment then?

Bulk shipments are nothing but cargo that is loaded directly into the holds of the shipping vessel, without being parceled. Unlike other items that are shipped in individual packages or containers, bulk shipments are shipped loosely and unpackaged.

Let’s help you understand this better by breaking it down further. Goods can be classified into 2 types:

General cargo- Goods that are transported in packages or containers and the total load is counted in units.

Bulk cargo- Goods that are shipped in huge quantities with no packing or packaging. The cargo is quantified using volume or mass measurements. Therefore, a bulk shipment is bulk cargo that is transported from one place to another and is loaded directly into a shipping vessel.

Let’s take a detour back to your big order. Will you really need a container now, because bulk shipping doesn’t require containerization? Well, say you want to transport mangoes in bulk, they can’t just be loaded into the hold of a ship without packaging, otherwise, they’d get spoilt. This is where containers can come to your aid. For a large amount of special cargo that needs protection and temperature-controlled environments, containers can be used.

Types of goods to ship with bulk shipping

Keeping this in mind, let’s take a look at what kinds of goods can be shipped via bulk shipping. Practically speaking there are thousands of goods that can be bulk shipped. But they are commonly classified under dry bulk and liquid bulk. These two groups are shipped and loaded in different ways and are very common in bulk shipping.

Dry bulk

The storage of these goods comprises the use of conveyor belts, cranes, hoppers, or silos. Solid bulk can include cargo such as grains, coal, and various minerals like copper, limestone, plastics, and wood items. These goods are shipped using bulk carriers (large vessels designed to carry solid bulk). These carriers consist of a single running deck with several hatchways.

Liquid bulk

Pumping stations and pipelines are used to load and unload these liquid materials into tankers for transport. Liquids that can be bulked shipped can range from liquid nitrogen to natural gas and petroleum to cooking oils. The tankers (ships used to carry liquid bulk cargo) are designed with double hulls to strengthen their structures to be able to carry tons of deadweight.

Note: the image below represents the special bulk items we’re talking about that would need containerization. 

Find containers on xChange for your special bulk shipments

So, if you have a bulk load of goods you need to ship that requires protection from external influences, you will have to find boxes for them. So, whether you want to lease or buy containers, Container xChange gives you get full market price transparency. This means you get to compare and negotiate prices to find a deal that best suits your needs. You also get competitive prices without any commissions or hidden fees. You’ll not have a pay a cent more than you want to. And the best part? You can make these deals with certified members directly.

You can choose from a wide range of SOCs. These containers can help you save a lot of money on demurrage and detention charges because they are shipper-owned containers, so because you own the box, you don’t have to pay these surcharges if your containers get held up in the port.

SOCs also help with empty container repositioning. Let’s say you sent out a shipment to China from the US. And now you have an empty container sitting in China and you want it back. You can lease the SOC out to someone who wants to ship something to the US. This is to make sure the container doesn’t come back empty. Once you get it back, you can sell the container again on our platform at a good price and help in repositioning them – helpful, right?

So go on and get your SOC containers for bulk shipping at the most competitive prices from certified partners at your fingertips. Sign a good deal on your SOCs today by clicking the banner below and letting our experienced team guide you to your box.


What is the difference between bulk shipping and break bulk shipping?

So far, we’ve covered a ton of information on bulk shipping and bulk shipments. But did you know that there is another term that we haven’t covered yet? That’s right, it’s called break bulk shipping. That’s what we’re going to take you through now and tell you what are the differences between the two shipping terms.

Break bulk shipping indicates cargo that is transported in bags, boxes, crates, drums, or barrels. The goods are then loaded individually, without being stored in larger intermodal containers, nor in bulk as with liquids or grains such as milk, oil, soybeans, and rice.

The difference between the two is as follows:

Bulk shipping Break bulk shipping
Bulk shipping refers to cargo that is transported loosely and stored directly into a transport vessel, without packaging. In break bulk shipping the cargo is put into individual packaging and then loaded and unloaded individually without using containers.


Bulk shipments are necessary for goods that are not suited for containerization.


Break bulk shipping is an old form of goods transportation that has been taken over by containerization but is still predominant in certain parts of the world.


difference between bulk and break bulk shippingGet containers for special bulk shipping orders easily on Container xChange

You’ve finally made it to the end of this blog on bulk shipping and bulk shipments. That was a bulk load of information, we just unloaded on you, didn’t we? Well, it’s sure to help you and your company in making business decisions when it comes to shipping out a large number of goods.

We also equipped you with the power to choose from a wide range of SOC containers at pocket-friendly prices from trusted suppliers for your bulk shipping. Remember you have 50,000 container types and conditions to choose from for your needs.

Did we mention that we also take care of all your payments by sending you only one consolidated bill using the xChange wallet at the end of the month? This makes the payment process much easier for you.

As for the updates on your container, you get to track all your container movements from the initial release to the final drop-off. And you get damage claims and container insurance! So, go on become a member today and experience our marketplace, for yourself. Click on the banner below to let our expert team get you those containers for your bulk shipment right away.

bannerBulk shipping: Common FAQs

What is bulk shipping?

Bulk shipping refers to the shipping of large quantities of goods that are loaded onto shipping vessels without packaging.

What is a bulk shipment?

Bulk shipments are cargo that is loaded directly into the holds of the shipping vessel, without being parceled.

What is break bulk shipping?

Break bulk shipping indicates cargo that is transported in bags, boxes, crates, drums, or barrels.

What are the benefits of bulk shipping?

If you have copious amounts of goods to transport bulk shipping can be beneficial to you. Mainly, bulk shipping can be very useful for industrial or agricultural items. This form of shipping can help many businesses ensure that their cycle inventory is taken care of. Bulk shipping is also an outstanding and cost-saving ecommerce shipping solution for those selling wholesale.

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