With regard to maritime transport, a distinction is made between dangerous goods in packaged form and goods carried in bulk. Bulk transport means that the product is loaded directly into a cargo hold in the ship without any further containment. Large quantities are often carried at the same time. Bulk cargoes may be solid, liquid or liquefied gaseous products.
Different products constitute different risks and certain substances are not permitted to be carried in bulk on ships. Certain cargoes present particular danger when they are carried in bulk, such as sawdust and unslaked lime. When liquid or gaseous products are carried in bulk, the ship must always be constructed with cargo holds in the form of special tanks.
Substances that have no noxious chemical properties must still be handled and loaded according to special rules du to their physical properties, such as high weight and tendency to shift. If these properties are not properly observed, the ship may be overloaded or its stability impaired.