Loading Rates

Loading Rates

Issue Summary.

Over recent years INTERCARGO members have been experiencing increased pressure to load vessels quickly. This problem has escalated with the increased demand for commodities and the commercial pressure to maximise terminal throughput.

INTERCARGO conducted a survey of ships’ masters to determine the areas of concern, two main areas were identified:

  1. the implied arrival condition required to meet onerous loading requirements and its detrimental effect on manoeuvrability; and
  2. the consequences for the structural integrity of the ship.


INTERCARGO will engage with all stakeholders including owners and operators, terminals, classification societies, shippers, flag administrations, and insurers to ensure a common understanding of this issue. The aim is to ensure that all bulk carriers are loaded safety in an appropriate manner, taking into account the capabilities of the ship, in accordance with international regulation

Summary of Recent Developments.

(Updated on 17 Dec 2015)


Around 2003, INTERCARGO members raised their concern about excessive loading rates loading rate of iron ore cargo pouring into cargo hold. Some port requested a rate of 16000 t/hr with minimum ballast. A survey was carried out by INTERCARGO with result:

  • 85% of masters indicated that they considered such a rate of loading to be beyond the safe operational limits of their vessel's manoeuvrability and hull structure
  • Two thirds of respondents stated they had concerns with regard to structural stresses if loading at such a rate.

Refer to the enclosed INTERCARGO presentations of "the Speed of Loading of Bulk Carriers" in 2008 and "Design Issues for Bulk Carriers" in 2009.


IMO Requirements:

Listening to Industry feedback, IMO took actions:

  • On 16 May 2005, IMO issued circular MSC/Circ.1160 on Manual on loading and unloading of solid bulk cargoes for Terminal representatives;
  • On 5 Feb 2015, it issued circular MSC.1/Circ.1230 on Amendments to the manual on loading and unloading of solid bulk cargoes for terminal representatives;
  • In 2004, Code of Safe Practice for Solid Bulk Cargoes was adopted by IMO resolution MSC.193(79).
  • From 1 Jan 2011, the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code entered into force, which superseded the Code of Safe Practice for Solid Bulk Cargoes.


Publication of UK MCA

Safe loading and unloading of bulk carriers, 2003


IACS Recommendations

Recommendation 46: BULK CARRIERS - Guidance and Information on Bulk Cargo Loading and Discharging to Reduce the Likelihood of Over-stressing the Hull Structure, 1997

Bulk Carriers Handle With Care