Breakbulk

Breakbulk

Breakbulk and its glamorous subset, project cargo, remain a dynamic shipping segment, and the multipurpose and heavylift (MPV/HL) carriers that serve it are just beginning to recover from chronic overcapacity and a decade of doldrums.

Breakbulk cargo has been defined as ‘whatever is left over’ after the bulk and container ships are full. While the shift of commodities such as cotton and coffee from breakbulk into containers has largely run its course, other breakbulk and project cargos continue to move on MPV/HL vessels. Not every shipment of breakbulk cargo involves a complex mega-project or thousands of freight tons that require full charters and heavy-lift capacity. Many of these movements are very complex, and require additional planning, expertise and equipment. Project cargo shippers often work closely with carriers’ engineering teams to create transport plans.Simple breakbulk cargoes can often shift shipping modes fairly seamlessly. Steel, for example, flows from breakbulk to bulk carriers to, for some forms of steel, roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) and container transport. The preferred mode will depend on volumes, prices, schedules and demand. Container and ro-ro services offers shippers fixed schedules, predictable routes and prices, and more commoditized handling, simplifying the equation – but only when it makes sense for the cargo.

News & Analysis

02 Jul 2020
BBC Chartering CEO Ulrich Ulrichs said in a JOC Uncharted interview that the MPV/HL fleet should brace for higher operating costs and further consolidation, similarly to the global container fleet.
01 Jul 2020
Following a pandemic-driven slide, the Toepfer Multipurpose Index is expected to stabilize in July.
26 Jun 2020
In a pandemic-distorted logistics environment, due diligence has never been more important, project logistics service providers tell JOC.com.
26 Jun 2020
Despite a difficult business environment, new MPV/HL carrier KOGA Shipping is growing its client base as it enters the US Gulf-Caribbean market, according to CEO Fernando Maruri.
25 Jun 2020
In the face of COVID-19, logistics contracting should carefully define the events that trigger the application of force majeure remedies.
24 Jun 2020
Oil price volatility and the related pullback on capital investment is affecting cargo volumes, primarily on the onshore oil and gas side; offshore effects will take longer to flow through the project supply chain.
18 Jun 2020
The automotive restart has encountered headwinds, as uneven timings of plant re-openings have created trade imbalances and factories have reduced their production capacities due to a lack of access to parts, while consumer demand remains a key unknown.
16 Jun 2020
Hit hard by COVID-19, a "patchwork" of high and heavy cargoes keeps the market afloat after a sharp drop in imports across the US’ top ro-ro ports.
04 Jun 2020
MPV/HL carrier AAL’s Asia–Europe service, which has filled a vacuum created by the demise of Zeamarine, is seeing relatively strong demand despite a pandemic-hampered market.
03 Jun 2020
Russia's spring thaw allows Combi Lift and SAL to begin delivery of project cargo for a massive Siberian gas project.
02 Jun 2020
Blockchain-based electronic bills of lading can simplify shipping hurdles created when the effects of COVID-19 hamper travel and restrict normal processes.
28 May 2020
The first offshore wind farm in the Great Lakes has been approved, but with an unexpected condition attached that project developers say severely dilutes the economic benefits.
21 May 2020
The massive demand destruction in the oil sector has triggered billions of dollars in capex cuts, shrinking the project cargo pipeline.
15 May 2020
BBC Chartering's CEO sees a rough course ahead amid COVID-19, but a stronger MPV/HL segment in the long run.
06 May 2020
UHT will represent a fleet of five semi-submersible heavy transport vessels under a partnership agreement with China-based owner Guangzhou Salvage and commercial agent GS-Pango.
05 May 2020
The Taiwanese government plans to develop 5.5 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2025, and add another 10 GW between 2026 and 2035.
01 May 2020
Caterpillar says production and demand for high-and-heavy equipment were flattened by the COVID-19 shutdown during the first quarter of 2020.
30 Apr 2020
Ro-ro and multipurpose carriers are exploring wind-assisted propulsion systems to cut emissions and boost efficiency.
27 Apr 2020
Intermarine will serve as exclusive commercial agent in North America for United Heavy Lift, though UHL ships are not expected to operate in Intermarine's liner services.
27 Apr 2020
Dutch carrier Spliethoff expands its multipurpose/heavy-lift fleet and opens an office in Singapore.
20 Apr 2020
Supply chain bottlenecks could delay US wind farm development and endanger tax credit subsidies.
14 Apr 2020
Toepfer's Multipurpose Index falls as COVID-19 effects hamper trade and plummeting oil prices shrink capital investments.
10 Apr 2020
Breakbulk steel imports are expected to decline further this year after falling in 2019, as sinking demand for vehicles and other steel-based products adds to tariff woes.
09 Apr 2020
Already under severe pressure as coronavirus lockdowns sap global demand, oil prices fell to a 20-year low last week amid what may be the single most ill-timed game of production chicken in history.
08 Apr 2020
A global economy hammered by pandemic control measures and an oil price war is bad news for the MPV/HL sector, maritime consultancy Drewry reports.
01 Apr 2020
Cosco delivered a 3,700-mt bridge to Sweden even as the oil price crash hamstrings the spot market for the heavy transport sector.
30 Mar 2020
Forwarders are scrambling to preserve project schedules as transport capacity, equipment availability, and personnel are affected by efforts to control the spread of coronavirus.
30 Mar 2020
Torbjørn Wist will be leaving SAS to join the ro-ro carrier Wallenius Wilhelmsen group, now grappling with the effects of COVID-19 as automotive production and demand wither globally.
30 Mar 2020
With information on ISPM 15 violations still difficult to come by, shippers are investigating and educating wood packaging materials (WPM) makers, increasing requirements for heat treatments, and turning to non-WPM materials for dunnage.
27 Mar 2020
COVID-19 and sliding oil prices add up to a "double whammy" for forwarders specializing in project cargo, as transport capacity shrinks near-term and planned energy projects are undermined.
26 Mar 2020
With little cargo to transport amid the COVID-19 pandemic, carriers are reviewing schedules and service networks and angling for substitute cargoes.
23 Mar 2020
Global car and roll-on, roll-off (ro-ro) carrier Wallenius Wilhelmsen Group is laying up ships and sending others to the scrap yard to preserve cash and liquidity as the spread of coronavirus causes automotive production to shut down worldwide.
23 Mar 2020
The Exporter’s Competitive Maritime Council (ECMC) newest committee will focus on safety in project transport logistics and on project sites.
13 Mar 2020
Following recent guidance from health officials and in light of the rapid growth in global cases of COVID-19 over the past few days, as well as increasing travel restrictions and other circumstances, IHS Markit has canceled the Breakbulk & Project Cargo Conference scheduled for April 27–29, 2020.
11 Mar 2020
As export markets in China thaw following the reopening of manufacturing facilities closed due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), project owners face short-term vessel shortages and carriers fear a potential drop in demand due to falling oil prices.
11 Mar 2020
South Dakota, Illinois, and Virginia are among the US states at the head of the pack in terms of automating route analysis and permit issuance for oversized cargo moves.