Homogenous cargo that is stowed loose in the hold of a ship and is not enclosed in a shipping container or box, bale, bag, cask, or the like. Bulk cargo consists entirely of one commodity and is usually shipped without packaging. Specifically, bulk cargo is composed of either: 1) free flowing articles such as oil, grain, coal, ore, and the like which can be pumped or run through a chute or handled by dumping; or 2) uniform cargo that stows as solidly and requires mechanical handling for lading and discharging.” This includes such items as coils, rails, rods, ingots, bars, plates, billets, slabs, pipes and sheets of steel or other metals; timber, lumber and paper products as a commodity; and certain perishable goods, not in boxes, bags or containerized, and not frozen, but laden and stowed in a way similar to other types of bulk cargo (includes seafood and produce). One necessary aspect of bulk cargo is fungibility (goods that are identical with others of the same nature).
It is important to note that the difference between bulk and break bulk is based not only on the type of cargo, but also on the way in which the cargo is stowed or loaded. For example, bananas stowed loosely in a hold (not in boxes or containers) is considered bulk. Palletized boxes of bananas loaded directly into a hold (but not loose or containerized) is considered break bulk. See break bulk cargo.