break bulk

[ breyk-buhlk ]
/ ˈbreɪk ˌbʌlk /
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adjective Transportation.
of or relating to general cargo, usually manufactured goods, that is marked for individual consignees and has to be loaded and unloaded piece by piece at each point of transfer: Despite the dominance of container shipping, these companies continue to specialize in break bulk cargo, especially in the transport of large vehicles and agricultural equipment, which often need to be broken down into smaller components.Compare bulk cargo.
of or relating to the small, conventional cargo ships designed to hold general cargo: We are confident that the future of break bulk vessels is safe, with no chance of their becoming redundant.Compare container ship.
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Origin of break bulk

First recorded in 1615–25; break (def. 10) + bulk1 (def. 16)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use break bulk in a sentence

  • I warrant we will not break bulk, since sic is your bidding.

    The Pirate|Sir Walter Scott
  • No vessel was allowed to make entry or break bulk until letters brought by it had been handed over to the Post Office.

  • I am sure it is rara avis, for if you once "break bulk," as they phrase it, you are in again for all.

  • They would not break bulk till they got to their journey's end.

    Greenmantle|John Buchan