NCB Hazmat and Cargo Training safety of Life and Cargo at Sea
Grain Approvals




Grain is a free-flowing cargo that poses significant risks, primarily in the event of cargo shift during a voyage. National Cargo Bureau can assist in mitigating those risks and provide guidance on proper loading, stowage, and carriage of grain cargoes.

National Cargo Bureau is the only entity authorized to issue grain approvals on behalf of the U.S. Administration (ref. 46CFR §172.015) and, as experts in the field, can provide details of regulatory requirements and offer practical assistance in complying with those requirements.

Ships intending to load a cargo of grain in bulk for international transportation are required by the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention to comply with the requirements of the International Grain Code. Although SOLAS does not generally apply to unmanned vessels, these requirements are also extended in the U.S. under the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) to barges transporting grain internationally.

With limited exceptions, each of these vessels must obtain a Document of Authorization issued by the Flag Administration or a Recognized Organization (usually Classification Society) on behalf of the Administration as evidence that the vessel is capable of complying with the requirements of the Grain Code. National Cargo Bureau is the only organization recognized by the U.S. Administration for this purpose.

Vessels without a permanent Document of Authorization may be permitted to load and sail under a Single Voyage Approval. National Cargo Bureau is authorized to issue Single Voyage Approvals on behalf of the U.S. Administration and may issue approvals for other Administrations upon request.

The Grain Code requires that information in printed booklet form be provided to enable the master to ensure that the ship complies with the Code when carrying grain in bulk on an international voyage and details the information to be included in such a Grain Loading Booklet. This Grain Loading Booklet must be approved and identified in the Document of Authorization.

Detailed requirements for preparation of a Grain Loading Booklet are contained within the International Grain Code, International Maritime Organization (IMO) publication No. I240E, obtainable from any authorized IMO publications distributor. Guidance on application of the Grain Code and potential U.S. alternatives can be found in National Cargo Bureau’s publication, “General Information for Grain Loading”.

For questions on application of the Grain Code or authorized exceptions in the United States contact National Cargo Bureau:


Phone: (212)785-8300

Email: ncbnyc@natcargo.org or NCBGrain@natcargo.org