Required information from ship to terminal prior loading / unloading bulk cargo


In order to plan the proper disposition and availability of the cargo so as to meet the ship's loading plan, the loading terminal should be given the following information:

The ship's estimated time of arrival (ETA) off the port as early as possible. This advice should be updated as appropriate.

At the time of initial ETA advice, the ship should also provide details of the following:

name, call sign, IMO Number of the ship, its flag State and port of registry;

A Bulk carrier deck area


a loading plan stating the quantity of cargo required, stowage by hatches, loading order and the quantity to be loaded in each pour, provided the ship has sufficient information to be able to prepare such a plan;

time required for de-ballasting;

the ship's length overall, beam, and length of the cargo area from the forward coaming of the forward-most hatch to the after coaming of the aft-most hatch into which cargo is to be loaded or from which cargo is to be removed;

distance from the water line to the first hatch to be loaded or unloaded and the distance from the ship's side to the hatch opening;

the location of the ship's accommodation ladder;

air draught;

details and capacities of ship's cargo handling gear;

number and type of mooring lines; and

any other item related to the ship requested by the terminal.

Similar information in respect of ETA, unloading plan and details of the ship are required by unloading terminals.

Ships arriving at loading or unloading terminals in a part loaded condition should also advise:

berthing displacement and draughts.

previous loading or unloading port.

nature and stowage of cargo already on board and, when dangerous goods in bulk are on board, the name of the material, IMO Class and UN Number or BC Number.

distribution of cargo on board, indicating that to be unloaded and that to remain on board.

See example of Pre-arrival exchange of information checklist

It is important that the terminal receives updated ETAs.

Notifying the terminal of the proposed load or unload plan well in advance of arrival gives the terminal the opportunity to check that the information on which it is based is correct. For example, a plan may be based on a terminal having two loaders/unloaders where there is actually only one available. It also allows the terminal to check the plan against its preferred rotation, and to request a modification.

The master then has the opportunity to re-calculate the plan and clarify any questions so that a safe, correct and mutually acceptable plan is agreed preferably before the ship berths.

If the terminal's suggested plan is unsuitable for the ship, and does not meet its stability and hull stress criteria, then the terminal representative and master should co-ordinate and agree on a plan before operations begin.

Other items of information requested by the terminal may include:

Confirmation that ballast water is clean sea water ballast.

Any ship defects which could affect operations.

Ship's operational and navigational equipment safety status.

Details of any planned bunkering and storing operations, or repairs to be carried out.

Ballast handling rates.

Terminals should require both a cargo stowage plan and a plan indicating the order of loading/unloading and the quantity to be loaded/unloaded into/from each hold.

Ship should provide the terminal with a load or unloading plan stating the cargo distribution plan for the cargo to be loaded/unloaded, the hold rotation and quantities to be loaded/unloaded per run.

During the unloading of dry bulk cargo it may be necessary to ballast one or more holds to reduce the cargo air draught of the ship. This is unlikely to introduce hazards if the pipeline system has been well washed. However if a pump or pipeline has not been adequately washed, the ballasting operation may discharge residual oil into the hold. Atmospheric tests in the hold should therefore be made before any hot work is carried out in, adjacent to, or above a ballasted hold.

As soon as possible the ship should confirm that all holds into which cargo is to be loaded are clean, and free from previous cargo residues which in combination with the cargo to be loaded could create a hazard.

Information on the loading or unloading plan and on intended arrival and departure draughts should be progressively updated, and passed to the terminal as circumstances change.



Related Information

Information to ship from terminal prior loading bulk cargo

Suitability of Shore Terminals for handling bulk cargo

Preparation for ships carrying bulk cargo & standard loading condition

Ship/Shore Communication Prior to the Commencement of Bulk carriers Cargo Operation





Operation of sea going bulk carriers involved numerous hazards . Careful planning and exercising due caution for all critical shipboard matters are important . This site is a quick reference to international shipping community with guidance and information on the loading and discharging of modern bulk carriers so as to remain within the limitations as specified by the classification society.
It is vital to reduce the likelihood of over-stressing the ship's structure and also complying with all essential safety measures for a safe passage at sea. Our detail pages contain various bulk carrier related topics that might be useful for people working on board and those who working ashore in the terminal. For any remarks please Contact us

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A Bulk carrier underway What is a bulk carrier ?
"A ship which is intended primarily to carry dry cargo in bulk, including such types as ore carriers and combination carriers"







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