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Breakbulk

Multipurpose carriers face increased competition from container ships and bulk carriers, both of which are beset with overcapacity and low rates. Meanwhile, breakbulk/project demand is suffering from the decline in commodity prices caused by China’s reduced appetite for commodities and by a global oversupply of oil and gas.

Though heavy-lift and other shipments continue for projects already under way, other large mining and petrochemical projects have been postponed until the market’s direction becomes more clear. Volatile trade conditions also are reflected in declining shipments of steel and other industrial commodities. Other headwinds include increased near-sourcing for oversized shipments such as windmills for electric generation.

The shift of commodities such as cotton and coffee from breakbulk to containers has largely run its course. But other breakbulk and project cargos continues to move on multipurpose vessels, and many of the movements are becoming more complex, and require additional planning, expertise and equipment. Breakbulk/project cargo remains a dynamic market.

News & Analysis

Port of Tacoma, Washington.
14 Jun 2018
Amazon’s global inbound supply chain and logistics director Josh Dolan is challenging agricultural product exporters to join the e-commerce giant in arranging container, and maybe even chassis matchbacks, to reduce supply chain logistics costs.
Logistics software.
05 Jun 2018
A funny thing has happened in the last few years even as the role of chief supply chain officer hasn’t become quite so ubiquitous: on-demand, subscription-based software providers have begun to partner more than ever, creating networks of logistics capabilities that often mimic those promised by the broader single suites.
Uber Freight.
04 Jun 2018
The inclusion of carriers with up to 10 trucks in Uber’s capacity pool will help build density and increase the value of its app-based service to shippers.
Brazil truckers blockade road.
01 Jun 2018
One person was killed during the strike, which also resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in cargo damages, mainly foodstuffs and meat, along with widespread cargo delays.
Trucks travel on a US highway.
31 May 2018
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Thursday provided guidance on when drivers can use trucks for personal conveyance, among other guidance areas.
Port of Shanghai Yangshan deepwater port.
31 May 2018
Starting Friday, China Customs will require manifest submissions 24 hours prior to loading, or risk missing the intended sailing. One supply chain director called the order nothing new, but another called it a non-tariff barrier deployed mainly against the United States, but also Europe.
FFE Transportation.
30 May 2018
Shippers could face challenges finding trucks June 5 to 7 as an annual three-day roadside safety blitz tests electronic logging and hours-of-service compliance.
29 May 2018
Rising confidence in the air cargo market is good news for air cargo providers, as shippers and their forwarders move to lock in space and avoid the capacity constraints that characterized peak 2017.
A toy story in New York, United States.
28 May 2018
As with many other consumer industries, it’s not that the toy industry pie is shrinking, it’s merely being split differently.
Kansas, United States wheat field.
28 May 2018
Strong demand from emerging market countries points to another good year for US foodstuffs in 2018, but like so much of the US trade picture, political variables — including trade war/tariff tensions with key destination markets — may affect sales.
Big-ticket appliances.
28 May 2018
In 2017, US imports of household goods jumped as home projects and construction soared on economic strength, and the outlook calls for continued growth in 2018.

Commentary