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

26 Feb 2021
Grimaldi and United European Car Carriers are pursuing lower emissions vessels, and Wallenius Wilhelmsen is taking three more ships out cold layup to serve a rebounding vehicle cargo market
25 Feb 2021
Turbine components, including 216-foot-long wind blades, crossed Vancouver USA’s docks last year bound for a regional high, wide, and heavy transport corridor to Canada.
23 Feb 2021
High and heavy shipper John Deere's earnings spiked 137 percent year over year in the first quarter of the company’s fiscal 2021 as strong crop prices and post-pandemic inventory restocking boosted sales.
17 Feb 2021
The IMO's low-carbon standards and shippers eager to reduce their carbon footprints are pushing vessel operators toward lower-emission designs such as WW’s wind-powered ship.
11 Feb 2021
Drewry's charter rate index is up 2.2 percent for February as COVID-19 lockdowns drive consumers to favor premium container cargoes.
09 Feb 2021
MPV/HL carriers and breakbulk ports benefited last year from record US wind cargoes as expiring tax credits, improved technology, and increasing demand accelerated development
08 Feb 2021
Wind energy cargoes boosted the Port of Longview’s breakbulk volumes, while high and heavy drove growth at the Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) ports of Seattle and Tacoma.
05 Feb 2021
Regulators have now fined ocean carriers Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean (WWO), NYK RORO, and “K” Line a total of $63 million for price fixing on vehicle shipping services on routes to Australia.
04 Feb 2021
As congestion and rate pressure continue to squeeze the container market, some breakbulk cargo is shifting out of boxes back to ro/ro.
03 Feb 2021
Toepfer Transport's MPV/HL rate forecast climbs to $7,146 as optimism grows in the breakbulk market amid a new US presidential administration seen as favorable to renewables.
02 Feb 2021
A microprocessor chip shortage and new COVID-19 spread could slow recovery by hampering vehicle production.
01 Feb 2021
New contracts firm up heavy transport and heavy lift firm Fagioli’s 2021 outlook despite the pandemic-driven industry-wide downturn of 2020.
21 Jan 2021
In a further sign of a tumultuous market, UHL's newest "Eco-Lifter" will deliver containers to Europe on its maiden voyage.
20 Jan 2021
A state-wide commitment to renewables is behind a massive increase in project cargo tonnage at the Northern California port of Stockton.
15 Jan 2021
High box rates and congestion woes are driving container-side shippers to the breakbulk sector for relief.
14 Jan 2021
With the addition of dedicated installation capacity, SAL will target European offshore development, maintenance, and decommissioning.
11 Jan 2021
Rising short-term charter rates and recovering cargo volumes are leading ro-ro carriers to reactivate ships in cold lay-up since early 2020.
07 Jan 2021
A congested container shipping market is pushing cargo toward breakbulk shipping as Toepfer Transport's MPV/HL rate forecast climbs to $7,005, signaling recovery from 2020's COVID-19 slump.
30 Dec 2020
Former SAL executive Justin Archard has departed the super-heavy-lift carrier and will be a founding partner with Hamburg-based One World Shipbrokers.
28 Dec 2020
Breakbulk and project logistics providers are adapting to a market in which the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated a shift away from traditional oil and gas projects and toward more carbon-neutral energy sources and related industries.
21 Dec 2020
US-based project forwarders say they’re struggling to secure capacity as rebound demand and multipurpose and heavy-lift capacity is tapped by container lines in reaction to even stronger container demand.
16 Dec 2020
Fluor grinds its way out of a long run of financial trouble, but the EPC is facing an anxious oil and gas segment struggling with COVID-19-driven demand declines and an evolving market.
03 Dec 2020
Indices forecast rising rates for MPPs through the end of the year as breakbulk demand improves and container shippers searching for alternatives underpin a strengthening market.
02 Dec 2020
Escalating box rates and tight capacity in the container carrier market are pushing service providers to bring in ships from the multi-purpose sector.
23 Nov 2020
The European Commission's Green Deal will add 288 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind capacity to Europe's grid by 2050, along with 40 GW in tidal and floating solar energy generation.
16 Nov 2020
Faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, shrinking investment in capital projects, and a slow-but-game-changing global shift towards a lower-carbon future, the industry is again recalibrating its project logistics relationships.
16 Nov 2020
In the short term, EPCs see a painful gap growing in the oil and gas “project pipeline” because capital projects worth billions of dollars were delayed, with a few canceled or downsized.
16 Nov 2020
Wallenius Wilhelmsen turns in a positive third quarter as pent-up demand boosts auto sales while high and heavy cargo wavers.
10 Nov 2020
Multi-purpose carrier G2 Ocean's African and Indian semi-liner breakbulk services, established just as COVID-19 exploded, are flourishing despite lockdowns.
05 Nov 2020
The contract market is improving for F-type 12,500-dwt multipurpose ships, while spot rates remain volatile, according to Toepfer Transport.
27 Oct 2020
UHL, one of very few carriers currently adding newbuildings to the multipurpose fleet, is scheduled to receive eight new F900 ships through December 2021, with the first ship scheduled for delivery in December.
27 Oct 2020
The project industry is cutting logistics staff in the face of a looming “project pipeline” shortfall, concentrating specialized know-how into fewer hands.
19 Oct 2020
An ability to handle out-of-gauge cargo and a unique inventory management system distinguish supply chain logistics platform e2log from the competition.
16 Oct 2020
Gulf Stream Marine adds Alabo Street Wharf to its string of US Gulf breakbulk terminals and positions itself to handle out-of-gauge cargo with a focus on transshipment to the Midwest.
13 Oct 2020
China Navigation Company creates Swire Projects to take advantage of an improving outlook for the project market and brings aboard three ex-Zeamarine executives.
13 Oct 2020
The former head of SAL Heavy Lift’s marine projects will lead the chartering team at global forwarder DSV, which is handling global logistics for wind turbine manufacturer Vestas.