Not every shipment of breakbulk cargo involves a complex mega-project or thousands of freight tons. In such cases, a shipment can often shift modes 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. It depends on markets, prices, and demand.

Breakbulk/project cargo remains a dynamic market. Chronic overcapacity and fierce competition are driving carriers to jockey for position when it comes to carrying breakbulk and project cargo; not just from other multi-purpose breakbulk and project cargo carriers but from roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro), container carriers, and bulk carriers.

For years, containerization has been attracting a significant share of traditional breakbulk cargo. Containerization offers shippers strict schedules, predictable routes and prices, and  commoditized handling; vastly simplify shipping compared with the complexities and unpredictability of breakbulk and project cargo.

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 multipurpose vessels. Many of these movements are becoming more complex, and require additional planning, expertise and equipment.

News & Analysis

12 Sep 2019
A shift in focus by the Tioga Marine Terminal (TMT) to handling forestry products five years ago has drawn enough business that the terminal and the Port of Philadelphia are now building a new $12 million, 100,000-square-foot warehouse to handle wood and paper products.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
10 Apr 2019
Roll-on/roll-off carriers see potential in the breakbulk and high and heavy markets despite potential geopolitical snags.
10 Apr 2019
Russian Railways Logistics recently completed the delivery of oversized steam chambers for a new concrete plant in Russia’s Ulyanovsk region.
Janet Nodar, senior editor, breakbulk and heavy lift, JOC
05 Apr 2019
Janet Nodar, senior editor, bre
01 Apr 2019
Global supply chain consultant Dennis Mottola sat down with to talk about what’s changed over the course of his 45-year career in project logistics and what hasn’t.
26 Mar 2019
Low water levels and a lack of maintenance could hamstring river transport of Russian heavy and out-of-gauge cargo during the narrow seasonal window for such shipments.
21 Mar 2019
Svend Andersen, CEO of BBC Chartering, tells that despite an improving market, the multipurpose and heavy-lift (MPV/HL) sector remains under pressure from overcapacity and rising regulatory costs.
Janet Nodar, senior editor
19 Mar 2019
Janet Nodar, senior editor, breakbulk and heavy
14 Mar 2019
Slowing global growth and the US-China trade war are dampening the outlook for long-term investment in US project construction, shifting capital toward emerging markets.
13 Mar 2019
Strict schedules, predictable routes and prices, and commoditized handling have long made liner services attractive to breakbulk shippers, but project cargoes are a different story altogether.
12 Mar 2019
When demand is high, container and ro-ro carriers tend to stay in their own cargo “lanes,” but in leaner times, competition for project and breakbulk freight intensifies.
08 Mar 2019
Megaproject logistics, which often involves moving huge pieces of equipment through remote ports, brings with it a unique set of risks and challenges that traditional liner carriers simply aren't equipped to handle.
06 Mar 2019
Faced with risks both new and familiar in 2019, refrigerated cargo carriers are focusing on collaboration and technology to improve and expand service.
05 Mar 2019
Brunswick port forms an integral link in Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia’s supply chain, handling both incoming components and finished vehicles for export.