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

13 Aug 2020
Billions of dollars in order and service backlogs and an unfolding global energy transition toward renewables could mean blue skies ahead for wind energy, despite the painful fallout from COVID-19.
09 Jul 2019
Massive wind investments are expected offshore and on over the next five years
09 Jul 2019
Industry executives say the ExxonMobil-Saudi petchem joint venture building a $10 billion plant near Corpus Christi could spend as much as a half-billion dollars on logistics, although nailing down a more precise figure is difficult in the project’s early stages.
03 Jul 2019
Sponsored: Port NOLA's Vice President/CCO Bobby Landry discusses the return of Breakbulk Conference to New Orleans, acquisition of New Orleans Public Belt Railroad, tariff impacts, and expanding cargo handling capabilities.
01 Jul 2019
Burgeoning Midwestern wind development will add thousands of megawatts to the US power grid.
01 Jul 2019
Chartering specialist leaves EPC company Fluor for Bremen-based super-heavy-lift carrier.
26 Jun 2019
EPC execs talk labor, modularization and tech at Downstream 2019 conference
17 Jun 2019
Tendering activity to ease lackluster ‘summer slowdown’
13 Jun 2019
Trucking companies hauling oversized heavy freight saw revenue jump by double digits last year, but bigger and bigger shipments challenge specialized capacity.
10 Jun 2019
Worried about compatibility problems, some multipurpose and heavy-lift carriers will stick with marine gasoil despite a likely price bump in the wake of the IMO 2020 low-sulfur fuel regulations.
Wind blades stowed on the deck on the G2Ocean Star Juventas.
05 Jun 2019
CargoX’s “smart” bill of lading allows for the digital transfer of shipping documentation, but CBO Vjeran Ortynski says government acceptance of digital originals will be the “real disruptor.”
04 Jun 2019
CMA CGM is placing a bigger focus on breakbulk and project cargo shipments to and from India.
28 May 2019
A tight talent supply, persistent vessel oversupply, and a “procurement mindset” will continue to challenge the project cargo market, according to speakers at the Breakbulk Europe conference in Bremen.
24 May 2019
Uncertainty about the supply, availability, and compatibility of low-sulfur fuel with ship engines is complicating the breakbulk fleet's transition to LSFO under IMO 2020.
23 May 2019
The rise of populist governments is crimping the outlook for free trade, according to Boris Glass, senior economist with S&P Global Ratings.
21 May 2019
Carriers long busy with Asian and European offshore wind installations see strong potential in the United States emerging offshore market.
21 May 2019
The automotive trade is waiting with bated breath for any tariffs coming out of the US Commerce Department’s investigation into the potential national security implications of imports of vehicles and parts.
20 May 2019
Higher tariffs and slowing manufacturing growth are among the factors weighing on heavy machinery demand.
20 May 2019
Despite NIMBY friction and logistics challenges, offshore installations are expected to take off.
16 May 2019
Module growth and oil and gas investment are signaling improvement for the super-heavy cargo niche, but a surplus of vessel supply is still weighing on the market.
13 May 2019
The annual training “rodeo” held at the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore teaches longshoremen and women how to properly handle rolling stock.
10 May 2019
The Chinese state-run ocean carrier and fellow Asia-based lines are slowly revealing plans that tilt toward deeper logistics services beyond conventional ocean shipping, with a distinctive Asian focus.
07 May 2019
Ulrich Ulrichs, former CEO of Rickmers-Linie, which has since been absorbed by Zeaborn, will become CEO at BBC Chartering following a transition period.
01 May 2019
Low Russian GDP growth, a slowdown in industrial investment, and foreign sanctions could hamstring the out-of-gauge cargo sector after several years of growth.
30 Apr 2019
The growing size of oversize and overweight shipments makes transport to inland destinations more complex, increasing the need for cross-modal collaboration.
The 656-foot, 23,800-deadweight-ton Traviata will call on ports in Japan, South Korea, Singapore, the Mediterranean, and North Europe on its maiden voyage.
30 Apr 2019
The car carrier’s new roll-on/roll-off vessels have capacity for 8,000 vehicles as well as lower fuel consumption and emission levels than their predecessors.
29 Apr 2019
The acquisition of developer Deepwater Wind has netted Copenhagen-based Orsted a portfolio of wind farm projects off the coasts of Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maryland, and New York.
26 Apr 2019
Despite a bearish short-term outlook for the multipurpose and heavy-lift (MPV/HL) market, Toepfer Transport says underlying trends still portray an improving market in the long term.
24 Apr 2019
A new joint venture between Wallenius Lines and Swedish Orient Lines (SOL) has ordered LNG-fueled newbuildings intended to serve paper product and breakbulk shippers.
Zeamarine’s present fleet consists of about 90 multipurpose and heavy-lift (MPV/HL) vessels with lift capacities up to 1,400 tons, according to the company.
18 Apr 2019
Pending antitrust approval, Zeaborn Group will take full ownership of the Zeamarine joint venture, consisting of Zeaborn Chartering, Rickmers Line, and Intermarine, after buying out New Mountain Capital’s interest.
17 Apr 2019
The latest multipurpose/heavy-lift sector forecast from Drewry projects a decent year ahead but slowing growth in the longer term.
The fifth of five tunnel-boring machines now operating in Sydney was discharged to barge at White Bay, Australia, from the AAL Kembla.
16 Apr 2019
Heavy-lift carrier AAL recently moved two tunnel-boring machines, essential equipment for major metro rail projects, from Nansha, China, to Sydney and Melbourne, Australia.
12 Apr 2019
Signaling an improving market, United Heavy Lift adds Bonnesen and Monsted to its executive roster.
Netherlands-based multipurpose carrier Spliethoff added five more ex-Hansa Heavy Lift (HHL) vessels to its fleet this month: four P14-type ships and one P8-type vessel.
11 Apr 2019
Carriers continue to consolidate the multipurpose/heavy-lift (MPV/HL) fleet in the wake of Hansa Heavy Lift’s untimely exit.
11 Apr 2019
Tariffs on US automobile and parts imports, and resulting retaliatory duties on US exports, threaten an already cooling auto market.
UECC is investing in a new generation of vehicle and heavy equipment carriers that will be powered by liquefied natural gas with battery packages.
10 Apr 2019
Roll-on/roll-off carriers see potential in the breakbulk and high and heavy markets despite potential geopolitical snags.