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In shipping, break bulk cargo or general cargo are goods that must be loaded individually, and not in intermodal containers nor in bulk as with oil or grain. Ships that carry this sort of cargo are called general cargo ships.

A break-in-bulk point is a place where goods are transferred from one mode of transport to another, for example, the docks where goods transfer from ship to truck.

Breakbulk was the most common form of cargo for most of the history of shipping. Since the late 1960s, the volume of breakbulk cargo has declined dramatically worldwide as containerization has grown. Moving cargo on and off the ship in containers is much more efficient, allowing ships to spend less time in port. Breakbulk cargo also suffered from greater theft and damage.


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