Sample Management Essays on Cross Docking versus Breaking Bulk

Cross Docking versus Breaking Bulk

Supply chain processes involve the transportation of goods from the seller to the buyer with specifics on how to handle them. Methods involved in handling include cross docking and breaking bulk. These techniques are used in logistics and warehousing processes in different dimensions by suppliers or manufacturers of goods (Crainic et al., 2016). The logistical process to be used depends on different factors including nature of the goods, terms of trade, and nature of business.

Cross Docking

Cross docking is a practice in logistical procedures whereby products from a distribution docking terminal from a manufacturer or supplier are directly distributed to the customer into waiting outbound trailers, trucks, and cars with close to no handling and storage time (Vincent et al., 2016). Products   upon arrival at the  dock,  they  are  unloaded and  sorted out   so as to be  placed  to their various destinations. This method is efficient as supply chain processes from the point of origin to the sale point are streamlined, allowing easy and faster accessibility of products to the distributor and eventually to the customer. The technique is commonly used in consolidation arrangements where smaller shipments are combined and loaded into one framework for transportation thereby saving on costs (Zuluaga et al., 2017).  Arrangements  of  deconsolidation  is  also possible as large  loads are broken down into  small loads for easy  transport  process  for delivery  to  the end customer.

Breaking Bulk

Breaking bulk is a method used to extract portions of large dimension or weight of cargo from a ship. The break bulk cargo is usually transported in sorted boxes, bags, barrels, or crates from a specific break-in-bulk point onto vehicles and vessels. Increased modernization of shipping fleets and ports has led to introduction of containerization and tankers, thus reducing application of break bulk method (Christopher et al., 2017). However, the method is widely practiced in areas with little or no port development. It is used in bagged cargo, bailed goods, equipment and assorted vehicle components, and any long or heavy oversized goods.


Christopher, M., & Holweg, M. (2017). Supply chain 2.0 revisited: A framework for managing volatility-induced risk in the supply chain. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management47(1).

Crainic, T. G., & Laporte, G. (2016). Transportation in supply chain management: Recent advances and research prospects. International Journal of Production Research54(2).

Vincent, F. Y., Jewpanya, P., & Redi, A. P. (2016). Open vehicle routing problem with cross-docking. Computers & Industrial Engineering94.

Zuluaga, J. P. S., Thiell, M., & Perales, R. C. (2017). Reverse cross-docking. Omega66.