Containerized Shipping is the most common way to transport
dry goods across water today, although it wasn't always that way. There are still break bulk and bulk ships around, but they
are few and far between in most trades.
When shipping in bulk, individual packages and parcels must be allocated to various decks within
cargo holds, and the likelihood of contamination or damage to these goods is greater because all that stands between them
and your clumsy hands is the cardboard they're wrapped in.
Containerization allows for more cargo to be stacked within each container, the loading and
discharging process to be expedited tremendously, increased safety of the cargo, and standard rates to be applied.
As a mate on a container ship, you really don't have a whole lot of involvement with the manipulation
of cargo. Even the Chief Mate is primarily concerned with ballast and safety.
Cargo orders come from a shore based facility which has put together the orders and has predetermined
where on the ship the containers will go. The Chief Mate gets an email prior to arrival letting him know what to expect, and
if he sees any major problems he can ask for the cargo to be restowed. Other than that, the C/M is primarily concerned with
taking care of the Refrigerated and Hazardous Containers.