Breakbulk

Breakbulk

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

BBC Chartering MPV/HL.
23 Jan 2019
Toepfer’s index consists of an average of six-month to 12-month time charter rates per day for 12,500 deadweight-ton multipurpose and heavy-lift F-type vessels.
BBC Chartering
13 Sep 2018
A stronger US economy and pent up demand in emerging markets, among other factors, bodes well for the multipurpose sector moving forward.
A steel mill.
07 Sep 2018
To say that the Trump administration’s steel tariffs and quotas have upset the global steel market would be an understatement, as nations who have hit their quotas are scrambling for new markets, and US importers are searching for new sources of affordably priced steel.
Port of Everett.
06 Sep 2018
With its close proximity to Boeing, the port has geared up to streamline the supply chain for its biggest customer. And there's a substantive reason why it has done this.
AAL unloads condensing unit in China for Australia
05 Sep 2018
Mining interests are once again upgrading and investing in activities that require inbound project cargo after years of merely status-quo maintenance.
Port of Portland, Oregon, United States.
31 Aug 2018
Specialized Freight Solutions of Lake Mills, Wisconsin, has been commissioned by the new High, Wide and Heavy Corridor Coalition to conduct a feasibility route study for moving up to 1,000-ton mega-loads from Pacific Northwest ports east into Idaho and Montana and up into Western Canada.
High Wide Heavy Corridor Coalition transporting a large load on a desert road.
29 Aug 2018
A coalition of Pacific Northwest ports and transportation organizations has raised a war chest to fund a proposed 1,300-mile multimodal high, wide, and heavy transport corridor intended to smooth the transit of energy and infrastructure project cargo.
28 Aug 2018
Megaload/heavy load logistics is part science, part craft, and part ballet, and there’s no better example of that than CMI Energy’s recent heat recovery steam generator transport project.
Windmills being loaded for ship transport.
27 Aug 2018
Steel, gas, and wind are the big news on the breakbulk and project side at the Port of Brownsville. Further, the port also has a strategy should tariff changes between the United States and Mexico alter the market.
A Wallenius Wilhelmsen ship.
24 Aug 2018
Like much of global trade, pent-up demand and emerging market country development, among other economic fundamentals, bode well for the roll-on, roll-off sector’s growth prospects in the immediate years ahead, if the threat of tariffs subsides.
Port of Jacksonville.
20 Aug 2018
Roll-on, roll-off cargo flowed smoothly through US ports during the first half of 2018, and the involved ports are moving forward with planned, needed investments. Further, the immediate years ahead look promising, provided the trade tension winds die down.
Heavy lift.
11 Aug 2018
Improving demand, tightening capacity, and lessening competition from other segments is brightening the outlook for the multipurpose and heavy-lift fleet. And there are other signs of recovery.
Plastic waste for recycling.
02 Aug 2018
As of now, scrap/agriculture exporters and ocean carriers are in two parallel universes concerning whether space exists on ships heading to Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent.
Maersk Line windmill blade breakbulk transport.
02 Aug 2018
The out-of-gauge cargo — windmilll blades 103 feet long and weighing over 16 tons — was loaded on the Maersk Launceston, voyage 1809, operating as part of the Danish carrier’s Intra-Asia Chennai Express (CHX) Service.
A truck travels on a US highway.
01 Aug 2018
Uber’s decision to scrap its autonomous trucking plans does not mean there will not be “driverless” trucks someday, but it does dispel a notion that had caught fancy, in some circles.
A container ship on the Mediterranean Sea.
31 Jul 2018
The leading container ports still call the shots — thanks to the schedules of the three powerful alliances — but rival smaller ports are adding business and in the process are giving shippers options to northern and southern Europe.
Port of Santos.
31 Jul 2018
Just when conditions started to return to normal for shippers who use Santos, stevedores Wednesday will implement a three-day strike aimed at securing an agreed-to pay increase.
Air cargo being loaded in Poland.
31 Jul 2018
However, shippers should still expect some robust peak season pricing from the airlines that are seeking to extend their profitability, which grew at a strong rate in the first quarter.
Seahawk 2018 breakbulk international logistics
26 Jul 2018
A move of three unassembled air cooling condensers to three different construction sites added layers of complexity to an international logistics solution.
Breakbulk being loaded.
23 Jul 2018
A longtime consultant said three factors are the reason the sector has turned the corner.
18 Jul 2018
Shippers express concern about a recent spike in container dwell times in Vancouver, but Global Container Terminals Canada and Canadian National Railway say the fluctuations do not mean things will get worse during peak season.
18 Jul 2018
Shorter (and sometimes longer) contracts, volume commitments, and even higher rates are among the many types of bait shippers are using to capture elusive truckload capacity.
17 Jul 2018
Once cyclical, problems such as the driver shortage are becoming systemic. That threatens to ‘bake’ higher costs into transportation rates.
17 Jul 2018
The new collaboration comes as India’s automobile sector logs robust growth.
17 Jul 2018
The company overseen by Beijing’s State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission likened its plans for the east African country to the development of its home base of Shekou and Shenzhen in southern China, where it has carried out extensive port, industrial, and real estate development.
Trucks in Sao Paolo, Brazil.
13 Jul 2018
Shippers and business groups argue the current truckers’ freight rate table is too generous and would increase shipper costs and retail prices by double digits. The truckers’ union wants a fair rate table and said it will strike again if it is not obtained.
Chennai Port DP World terminal.
13 Jul 2018
In a trade advisory, the port trust announced substantial tariff reductions for domestic and foreign ocean carriers handling export-import containers for transshipment.
Antwerp port.
12 Jul 2018
After a mixed performance in 2017, Europe’s top breakbulk ports face a complicated 2018, despite above-trend European GDP growth, due to the threat posed by tariffs and the reinstatement of sanctions against Iran.
California Los Angeles interchange.
03 Jul 2018
Cell phone service providers may soon pull the plug on a key data pipeline underpinning domestic visibility software, but most companies have switched to other location systems. Shippers need to ensure that their providers aren’t overly exposed to this cell phone triangulation data.
Trucks travel on a highway in Germany.
02 Jul 2018
A shrinking supply of qualified truck drivers, combined with above-trend European GDP growth, is pushing the continent's truck rates higher, and analysts had words to the wise for shippers for the year ahead.
Brazil truckers on strike - May and June 2018.
02 Jul 2018
Although the truck strike has ended, Brazil’s transportation bottlenecks need a bigger government and private sector fix.
An Amazon center in Nevada, United States.
30 Jun 2018
Amazon’s new network could help reduce shipper costs, and even aid other transportation providers, as volumes outstrip capacity. But as one might sense, Amazon’s latest play also will affect resources in an already beyond-tight US trucking sector.
Brazil truckers blockade road.
29 Jun 2018
Energy prices have risen, lowering the margins of a key supply chain performer, and that has implications for the container shipping industry.
A truck travels on a US road.
29 Jun 2018
Shared worksheets and manipulatable charts are the standard in trucking logistics, as they are in other sectors, but there is a scenario that would see truckers, shippers, and others abandon them.
John Wiehoff.
28 Jun 2018
Supply chain experts at the SM3 Connections 2018 conference are taking a focus-on-what-one-can control stance, while also counting on more-constructive policies in the years ahead that are likely to support the decades-long globalization trend.
A truck in New Mexico, United States.
27 Jun 2018
US shippers would welcome a break from relentlessly high truck pricing during the dog days of summer this year. But those dogs aren’t barking yet.