Bulk carriers were developed in the 1950s to carry large quantities of non-packed commodities such as grains, coal and iron ore. Some 5,000 bulk carriers trade around the world, providing a crucial service to world commodities' transportation.
Bulk carrier operators must be aware of the specific safety concerns related to this type of ship. Loading of cargo must be done carefully, to ensure cargo cannot shift during a voyage leading to stability problems. Large hatch covers must be watertight and secure.