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

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.
10 Mar 2020
Because there is no national permitting standard for moving oversized loads across the US, obtaining permits can be an expensive, time-consuming process for trucking operators, or it can be a breeze.
06 Mar 2020
Dutch heavy transport carrier Roll Group is looking to take advantage of the growing Asian offshore decommissioning and fabrication markets with a new facility at Bintan Island.
28 Feb 2020
Multipurpose carrier G2 Ocean is expanding in Africa and Asia to support the joint venture company’s quest to double project cargo’s contribution to annual revenues.
27 Feb 2020
Project cargo bound for industrial projects is trapped in China due to measures to control coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), triggering project delays and endangering a normally reliable cargo market.
26 Feb 2020
A new $38 million berth will boost Port Canaveral's capacity for handling breakbulk cargo, including cargo bound for the space industry.
25 Feb 2020
Retired executive and ex-Wilhelmsen group board chair Wilhelm Wilhemsen, fourth generation to run the family business, has died at age 82.
19 Feb 2020
MPV/HL carrier Zeamarine files for insolvency in Bremen court as the Zea Gold is arrested for bunkers on board.
13 Feb 2020
Within just a few days in early December, Bremen-based multipurpose/heavy-lift (MPV/HL) carrier Zeamarine saw the sudden departure of founder Jan-Hendrik Többe and CCO Dominik Stehle, prompting the firm to bring in restructuring expert Sven Lundehn.
13 Feb 2020
Charterer's legal liability insurance is intended to cover the potential legal liabilities and costs of defending or reimbursing a ship's owner, cargo owner, or other damaged party for incidents during the charter period.
For JOC, breakbulk is in our DNA
12 Feb 2020
The Journal of Commerce's 2020 Breakbulk and Project Cargo Conference will continue to build on the spirit of the original event as a content-led, high-level information sharing and networking gathering for the industry.
12 Feb 2020
Stringent environmental regulations require biosecure conditions before ships and cargo can call South Georgia and the Antarctic.