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

A heavy lift ship.
10 Dec 2018
Both clauses are designed to be "simple and practical" and ease the global fleet's Jan. 1, 2020 transition to a low-sulfur fuel era, BIMCO said.
Hansa Heavy Lift HHL Kobe.
10 Dec 2018
Founded in 2011, Hansa Heavy Lift was the successor to Bremen-based Beluga Shipping.
A column being lifted on to a barge.
06 Dec 2018
An initial cargo of 19 units weighed more than 850 metric tons (937 tons) combined and included separators, heaters, and columns designed for hydrocarbon processing.
Breakbulk international logistics.
26 Nov 2018
Everything transported to an Antarctica research station by Trans Global Projects required extensive care and, due to the threat of intrusion by non-native plants and animals, extensive biosecurity and decontamination processes.
Reactor lift at Porto Marghera, Italy.
21 Nov 2018
Italy’s Porto Marghera has a unique capability on the peninsula, as two 1,692-ton heavy lifts of reactors bound for a refinery in Nigeria recently demonstrated.
A truck transport a wind generator blade.
20 Nov 2018
In the next two decades, project construction and transport sectors can expect electricity generation to grow in importance, as emerging nations, particularly those in Asia, shift toward light industry, service economies, and digitization.
Port Houston
15 Nov 2018
Imports are important to Gulf ports’ growth because ocean carriers in the major east-west trades deploy capacity based on imports, which command freight rates about four times higher than exports.
Heavy lift ship.
14 Nov 2018
Many project shippers have reported a lack of clarity regarding contracts extending into or beyond 2020; these clauses will help set the stage for the IMO 2020 transition.
Port Panama City.
13 Nov 2018
The port's primary facilities at the west terminal sustained relatively minor damage; it was a "mixed bag," the port's executive director said, including lost doors, canopies, and skylights, and some damage to the port's container terminal.
Brunswick Port, Georgia, United States.
05 Nov 2018
Brunswick is the second-busiest roll-on, roll-off port in the United States by tonnage, and although tariffs have affected trade, the upward trajectory remains intact regarding 2019.
A container ship at sea.
02 Nov 2018
Although the industry is unlikely to see another all-encompassing fiat like IMO 2020, the International Maritime Organization's (IMO’s) ambition is to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping to 50 percent of 2008 levels by the year 2050, and to someday eliminate the fleet's GHG emissions entirely.

Commentary