What is a Cargo Plan?

There is no dispute about the fact that marine vessels were primarily developed to be able to transport people and cargo in bulk. Leaving aside a few types of vessels all vessels moving towards the sea are laden with cargo. It is important for the safety of the vessel, the crew and the passengers that cargo be planned right with respect to loading, stowing and de-loading.

What is a cargo plan ?

A cargo plan is a plan drawn out to show distribution of cargo aboard the sailing vessel. The cargo is stowed according to the plan and not on ‘as it is when it is basis’ .The workbooks of the deck officers are taken into consideration while drawing out a cargo plan. Before the loading starts a fair copy is drawn and copies sent to agents responsible for booking cargo and distributing labor.

Pre planning of cargo ensures that all safety constraints be sufficiently complied with while keeping practicability of the entire process in mind. A Cargo plan includes information pertaining to the name of the vessel, the master and the chief officer, on quantity of cargo, description of the packages, weight in tons, empty space, port of discharge and any other identification mark or special instructions like temperature, pressure that need to be monitored in case of cargo.

The cargo plan facilitates access to cargo in case it needs to be shifted or in case of emergency. It helps check over loading and short delivery at the port of discharge. Planning the cargo becomes necessary for the reasons mentioned below. All four factors work together when a cargo plan is drawn:

Stability of the Ship: Sailing of ship in sea water is a simple phenomenon. A ship sailing in rough waters commands different dynamics from a ship sailing in calm waters. In rough waters the type of cargo on board will have a material bearing on its stability. To explain it with the help of an example; In case of solid cargo, it is important that heavy cargo be stored at the bottom of the ship while the lighter one should be placed on top. In case of liquids cargo has to be stowed in such a manner that the free surface effect of the cargo be kept to the minimum.

Safety of the Ship: Safety of the ship is another important factor that has to borne in mind while planning cargo. It is important that the load be within the prescribed safety limits. There are safety codes prescribed for cargo which is considered dangerous. It is important that the prescribed safety codes be adhered to for ensuring safety of the crew and the vessel.

Economy of the Voyage: An underlying objective of undertaking a voyage to transport is cargo is to make maximum profit both for the owner and the operator which may be different agencies. A cargo plan ensures that while carrying and transporting cargo maximum profit can be made. A cargo plan is drawn with the aim of maximizing utilization of space and achieving efficiency.

Intermixing of Cargo: In case more than one type of cargo is being transported in a single voyage it is important that only compatible cargo be put together. Intermixing of cargo could damage or even result in some unwanted chemical reactions.

Image Credits: www.cargomarine.co.nz

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