A cargo bay or cargo hold is a general purpose storage facility aboard shuttles, starships and starbases. Cargo bays are often equipped with large transporters, anti-grav pallets, and dedicated cargo turbolifts to assist in the moving of cargo containers. Larger bays are almost always placed to were there is easy access to the outside of the ship that allow loading and unloading through heavy doors. From here, it is separated in distribution areas before being sent to secondary internal bays or to the department it is needed in. Cargo bays are equipped with their own specialized inertial dampening systems designed to keep cargo from shifting.
Starfleet has always built their cargo bays with flexibility in mind. These areas take up great volumes of space inside a ship or station, so most are designed to serve additional functions besides just storage. They can be quickly converted into personnel evacuation centers, emergency triage areas, gymnasiums, bio-hazard isolation units, and so forth. Cargo bays are normally overseen by a specialized Operations Officer called a cargomaster.