Bulk Carrier

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The bulk carrier Federal Satsuki (Source: GreenPort).

Bulk Carriers, bulk freighters or bulkers are vessels designed to carry solid bulk cargoes such as coal, ore and cement. Bulk carriers make up more than a third of the entire merchant fleet in the world. They range from small vessels of under 500 DWT to huge carriers of 365,000 DWT. Bulk carriers have to be carefully designed and maintained because they may carry cargoes that are very dense, corrosive or abrasive[1].

See Also: List of Solid Bulk Cargoes


Bulk Carriers are separated into six major size categories: small, handysize, handymax, panamax, capesize, and very large. Very large bulk carriers fall into the capesize category but are often considered separately.[2].

The following is a list of four of the common subclasses of bulk carriers:

Subclass Size in DWT[3] Vessels[4]
Handysize 10,000 - 35,000 34%
Handymax 35,000 - 59,000 37%
Panamax 60,000 - 80,000 19%
Capesize 80,000 + 10%


  1. http://maritime-connector.com/bulk-carrier/
  2. MAN Diesel Group, 2005, p. 3-4.
  3. Ranges vary slightly. MAN Diesel Group 2005, p.4. UNCTAD 2006, p. xii.
  4. From Lamb, 2003 and the 2005 CIA World Factbook.

See Also[edit]

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