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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 forest in the United States.
24 May 2018
US forest product and paper industry exports have rebounded, aided by eased environmental regulations.
A flatbed truck travels in the United States.
14 May 2018
A confluence of factors has created very strong demand for flatbed trucks in the United States, resulting in the longest waiting lists in recent history — shippers are advised to remain patient.
Warehouse in the United States.
10 May 2018
Innovations in the global transportation management system space are happening around the fringes, incorporating things like in-app messaging, better user interfaces, or applying AI layers to existing optimization tools.
09 May 2018
Logistics companies view digitization as an opportunity rather than a threat. 
09 May 2018
A new marine terminal could serve as the catalyst for the creation of a regional barge trade in the US Northeast.
09 May 2018
China is increasing pressure on US exporters, creating costly delays. 
09 May 2018
A series of factors has lined up to ensure European shippers importing air cargo from Asia will be stuck with services to the congested hub airports.
09 May 2018
Truckers are unhappy with the administration of a key port productivity program at the Port of Jawaharlal Nehru and are refusing to work.
A truck travels on a road in Oregon, United States.
08 May 2018
US truck transport rates eased in April, but there already are signs of a renewed push higher for several market-based reasons.
Rail lines in Chittagong.
08 May 2018
The double-lane railway will facilitate transit between India’s Gede railway station and Bangladesh’s Khulna district, with the latter ultimately being connected to the Mongla seaport.
Port of Los Angeles.
07 May 2018
BCOs fear imposing indirect source pollution restrictions on warehouses and distribution centers on top of LA-LB clean-air restrictions will raise the cost of shipping through the Southern California gateway.