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

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.
06 Jan 2020
New spending bill extends the production tax credit for wind energy projects to 2024 but adds quirks to the credit’s timing; increased investment levels are expected.
27 Dec 2019
A busy renewable energy sector and stable oil and gas markets have collided with persistent overcapacity in the multipurpose/heavy-lift (MPV/HL) sector, causing rate growth to sputter and stall.
20 Dec 2019
Harren & Partner, owner of heavy-lift carrier SAL, has purchased three secondhand ships and is also testing an innovative combustion system for retrofitting on other ships in the fleet.
19 Dec 2019
Outsiders can find vessel chartering in the breakbulk sector exasperatingly opaque. In the last part of a six-part special report on the topic, JOC.com takes a look at how cargo owners, EPCs, and OEMs manage chartering in a challenging market where controlling costs remains paramount.
19 Dec 2019
The Gearbulk/Grieg Star G2 Ocean partnership will continue to build its project cargo business as the JV transitions in its executive ranks, with the departure of chief executive Rune Birkeland at year-end.
The Zeamarine Hamburg, formerly the Rickmers Hamburg, loading pipe modules.
17 Dec 2019
German tax and crisis management expert Sven Lundehn has been brought in to manage the Bremen-based carrier, as top executives leave and founder Jan Hendrik Többe makes an exit.
16 Dec 2019
Outsiders can find vessel chartering in the breakbulk sector exasperatingly opaque. In part five of a six-part special report on the topic, JOC.com takes a look at the complexities of project shipping and whether they can be whittled down to a one-size-fits-all index.
13 Dec 2019
Drewry's Head of Research Products Martin Dixon on fleet and rate projections for breakbulk and project cargo, uncertainty around tariffs, oil prices, and the shipping cost implications for cargo owners of the IMO 2020 low-sulfur fuel regulation.
11 Dec 2019
Outsiders can find vessel chartering in the breakbulk sector exasperatingly opaque. In part four of a six-part special report on the topic, JOC.com takes a look at how project forwarders execute a delicate balancing act as they cope with shifting trade patterns, fleet makeup and business relationships.
09 Dec 2019
Outsiders can find vessel chartering in the breakbulk sector exasperatingly opaque. In part three of a six-part special report on the topic, JOC.com takes a look at how SAL Heavy Lift manages its business, which is seeing a boost in vessel use this year from energy projects.
05 Dec 2019
Outsiders can find vessel chartering in the breakbulk sector exasperatingly opaque. In part two of a six-part special report on the topic, JOC.com takes a peek behind the curtain at BBC Chartering, which boasts the largest fleet in the sector.
04 Dec 2019
Outsiders can find vessel chartering in the breakbulk sector exasperatingly opaque. In part one of a special report on the topic, JOC.com takes a peek behind the curtain at BBC Chartering, which boasts the largest fleet in the sector.
22 Nov 2019
JAXPORT expects terminal upgrades and a dredging project will attract larger vessels and more volumes when work is complete in 2023.
The 14,000 dwt Zea Focus, one of the F-900 ships that will be moving South Flank cargo.
21 Nov 2019
Harmonizing Zeamarine's liner and tramp services is high on new regional director's list of priorities.
21 Nov 2019
The ports of Brownsville and Corpus Christi, Texas, and Vancouver, Washington, are among those expecting continued growth in windmill component cargoes in 2020.
18 Nov 2019
US wind energy capacity reached 100 GW in the third quarter of 2019, and with another 45.6 GW in the development pipeline, heavy-haul trucking carriers may struggle to keep pace with demand.
12 Nov 2019
The latest Toepfer Multipurpose Index shows the project and breakbulk sector holding its breath as the effects of IMO 2020 begin to play out.
German companies link up to tackle Japan's offshore wind market
12 Nov 2019
Two German companies join forces to work in Japan’s developing wind energy sector as the country scales back its dependence on coal and nuclear power in the wake of the 2011 tsunami and Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster.
06 Nov 2019
Carrier G2Ocean says it plans to double the project cargo portion of total revenues by 2023.
06 Nov 2019
The multipurpose/heavy-lift (MPV/HL) market has endured a decade-long downturn, but with rates slowly climbing and project cargo shippers reporting healthy order books and backlogs, the sector could finally be turning a corner.
05 Nov 2019
Moving a 238-metric ton transformer over the road from Houston to New Mexico requires meticulous planning, detailed route surveys, and the building of a massive transport trailer.
Cosco Heavy Transport, Dongbang to partner on large projects
01 Nov 2019
Cooperation between super-heavy carriers is a sign of a strengthening project market.
01 Nov 2019
Bill Keyes, global logistics director of operations, Fluor on trade tensions and IMO2020 pricing risks, questions for the EPC (engineering, procurement, construction) side of the freight transportation business.
01 Nov 2019
Port of New Orleans Commercial Director Janine Mansour on the 2019 reality of the long-awaited resin boom, expansion plans, inland logistics, volume-related equipment challenges.
US steel imports increasing despite tariffs, quotas
28 Oct 2019
With imports on the rise, domestic US steel prices are rolling downhill in 2019 and analysts expect that trend to continue well into next year.
25 Oct 2019
Sponsored: Alabama State Port Authority Vice President of Operations Bill Inge on $1 million infrastructure projects and how technology has met the unique needs of breakbulk shipping.
25 Oct 2019
Filmed at the JOC Breakbulk & Project Cargo Conference, Dharmendra Gangrade, L&T Hydrocarbon Engineering's head of logistics, on the digitization, standardization challenges facing shippers.
24 Oct 2019
US wind energy developers are scrambling to complete projects before a federal production tax credit is completely phased out at the end of 2022.
23 Oct 2019
Revisions for 2020 reflect an Incoterms committee that was less “Eurocentric” and more trade-oriented than in the past, according to Frank Reynolds, president of consulting firm International Projects Inc. and a member of the International Chamber of Commerce’s Incoterms revision committee.
23 Oct 2019
Consolidation among carriers in the multipurpose/heavy-lift (MPV/HL) sector has reduced the number of ship operators, but not the overall number of ships available.
22 Oct 2019
With scrapping levels still relatively low, overcapacity is expected to continue to keep downward pressure on multipurpose/heavy-lift (MPV/HL) vessel rates.
22 Oct 2019
After a lengthy hiatus, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) recently approved a $5 billion loan to finance US exports for the development of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in northern Mozambique.
21 Oct 2019
Recently imposed tariffs, a persistent oversupply of vessels, and evolving shipper requirements are redrawing traditional trade lanes for multipurpose and heavy-lift (MPV/HL) carriers.
16 Oct 2019
Emergence of platforms across modes will help breakbulk market implement new tech. JOC Senior Editor Eric Johnson on challenges, steps forward for project cargo shippers that want to leverage tech for improved visibility, data.
10 Oct 2019
The pace of technological growth is exceeding the logistics sector’s ability to come up with ways to use it, leaving the market with “solutions” that do not align with actual shipper needs.