Effective Cargo Separation and Segregation Best Practices for Smooth Operations


Efficient cargo separation and segregation are crucial for the smooth and safe handling of goods during shipping operations. By properly categorizing and marking different cargoes, confusion and over-carriage can be prevented. This article explores the importance of cargo separation, various methods for marking and separating cargoes, and the significance of segregation to protect different types of goods.

Section 1: Cargo Separation

Cargo separation ensures that different cargoes are not mixed up or inadvertently left in the ship’s hold. This helps prevent logistical complications and potential legal issues. Proper separation is particularly vital when cargoes are destined for different ports or consignees. The failure to separate cargoes adequately during loading can result in chaos during discharge, including short landings and excess paperwork.

To facilitate smooth cargo discharge, here are some effective methods of cargo separation:

1. Hessian separation strips or Burlap: Use strips of burlap in various colors to encircle parcels and differentiate them.

2. Markings by shoring, blocking, and securing: Use appropriate markings and techniques to secure and separate cargo parcels.

3. Paper sheets: Separate small cartons or cases bound for different ports by using heavy paper with clear markings on the exterior.

4. Lashing ropes with colored cloth strips: Lumber cargoes can be carefully separated and marked by laying lashing ropes with colored cloth strips. Paint marking is also an option for lumber separation.

5. Different cargo as separation: Utilize different types of cargo to create physical separation between two similar cargoes.

6. Water-based colors: Use water-based colors for port marking or consignee marking, especially when identifying specific destinations.

7. Tarpaulin: Use tarpaulin to separate bulk cargoes effectively. It prevents over-carriage and enables freight forwarders to identify cargoes accurately.

Section 2: Segregation of Different Cargoes

Proper segregation of cargo types is essential to protect goods from potential damage caused by incompatible properties. Consider the following aspects:

1. Wet and dry cargo segregation: Keep wet cargoes, such as liquids in containers, away from dry cargoes like paper products, flour, and rice.

2. Heavy and light cargo segregation: Separate heavy and light cargoes vertically to prevent damage caused by weight imbalances.

3. Odorous cargo segregation: Stow odorous cargoes, which emit fumes (e.g., kerosene, turpentine, ammonia), away from delicate cargoes like rice, flour, tea, and cereals.

Section 3: Handling Dangerous Goods

When handling dangerous goods, adherence to the IMDG Code is crucial. This international code governs the shipment of hazardous materials by sea, including segregation requirements for incompatible substances. Ensure compliance with Chapter 7.2 of Volume 1 of the IMDG Code, which outlines segregation requirements for dangerous goods carried on the same vessel. Refer to the provided tabular format for clear guidance on segregation requirements.


Proper cargo separation and segregation are vital for efficient shipping operations and the protection of goods. By implementing effective marking techniques and adhering to segregation guidelines, the risk of confusion, damage, and legal issues can be minimized. Stay compliant with relevant regulations, such as the IMDG Code, to ensure the safe transport of hazardous materials. Implementing these best practices will help facilitate smooth cargo handling and minimize potential complications during discharge and onward transportation.

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