Dunnage (Dry Cargo)


Dunnage is used for general/breakbulk cargo, so as to spread the weight uniformly, for enabling lashing to be taken and preventing any damage to cargo due to ship sweat or unintentional waterlogging.

types and sizes of material used for dunnage.

Dunnage is the name used for all materials which are not firmly attached to the cargo transport unit, the cargo or its packaging, and are used to protect the goods and their packaging from moisture, contamination, and mechanical damage. It includes - wooden dunnage, beams, planks, boards, wedges, plywood and hardboards, walking boards, mats, paper, sailcloth, canvas, and tarpaulins; plastic and metal sheets, spray covers; cardboard and paperboard, packing paper, oiled paper and fabric paper, talcum powder, etc.

The main functions of dunnage are:

  • Protection against sweat and condensation water

  • Protection against moisture and liquids

  • Protection against soiling and contamination

  • Protection against mechanical damage

The nature of the materials used must ensure that the packages or the cargo transport unit are adequately protected. The materials themselves must not be wet, moist, odor-tainted, or contaminated. The quality of the material must be determined for each individual case by assessing the value and susceptibility to damage of the load, the means of transport, the intended protection, and other similar factors. The special properties of the particular type of dunnage used must be taken into account. Wooden dunnage made of squared lumber, planks, boards, roof bows, slats, and battens, are very suitable for distributing pressure, bridging or lining cavities and gaps, creating air channels and enhancing friction. Since wood can be infested by pests, only wood that has been impregnated against insects or fumigated may be used on certain trade routes.

Wooden boards, wooden panels, walking boards, chipboard, and hardboards are very suitable for distributing pressure and have a high loading capacity provided they are sufficiently thick. Since water-repellent, pest-proof, or fire-retarding wood is odor-tainted as a result of such treatment or could have other harmful effects, it must virtually never be used with foodstuffs or similar items. Mats made of bamboo, reed, etc. only protect against surface dirt, not against dust. They absorb moisture and under certain circumstances release it back into the