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 often called general cargo ships. The term break bulk derives from the phrase breaking
bulk—the extraction of a portion of the cargo of a ship or the beginning of the unloading process from the ship's holds. These goods may not be in shipping
containers. Break bulk cargo is transported in bags, boxes, crates, drums, or barrels. Unit loads of items secured to a pallet or skid are also used.
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.
Break bulk was the most common form of cargo for most of the history of shipping. Since the late 1960s the volume of break bulk cargo has declined dramatically
worldwide as containerization has grown. Moving cargo on and off ship in containers is much more efficient, allowing ships to spend less time in port. Break bulk cargo
also suffered from greater theft and damage