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

02 Jul 2020
BBC Chartering CEO Ulrich Ulrichs said in a JOC Uncharted interview that the MPV/HL fleet should brace for higher operating costs and further consolidation, similarly to the global container fleet.
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.
10 Feb 2020
Evolution continues in the MPV/HL fleet as AAL adds a global semi-liner service and an ex-Zeamarine executive plans a new US Gulf breakbulk service.
Intermarine brand resurrected in Zeamarine restructuring
30 Jan 2020
Richard Seeg has been named CEO of the newly-revived Intermarine brand, which will operate the Americas Line project and breakbulk cargo service out of Houston and New Orleans.
29 Jan 2020
Wind turbine maker Vestas, citing the growing complexities of moving special project cargo, has linked with DSV Panalpina in an attempt to “scale [its] business efficiently.”
29 Jan 2020
Officials say the funding will help complete the Oregon river port’s partially finished breakbulk terminal and expedite project cargoes for two ambitious wind energy projects in the state.
28 Jan 2020
Wind developer Ørsted and the Virginia Port Authority will develop an offshore wind terminal at Portsmouth, enabling Ørsted to service planned projects throughout the Northeast.
28 Jan 2020
US ports are expanding their ro-ro capacity as they look for a competitive edge, betting on growth despite tariff threats.
27 Jan 2020
Some US ports handling “high and heavy” equipment reported seeing minimal impact from the US-China trade war last year, while others said they had been considerably affected.
Port of Mobile, ro-ro partners commit to new terminal
24 Jan 2020
Grupo Murchison and Neltume Ports have formed a joint venture to operate the Port of Mobile’s new ro-ro terminal, expected to open in early 2021.
24 Jan 2020
Port of New Orleans Commercial Director Janine Mansour joins JOC's Janet Nodar to announce the return of the Breakbulk an
22 Jan 2020
Zeamarine sheds its most modern ships as United Group strengthens its position in a slowly improving market.
21 Jan 2020
Economic uncertainty eases, but overcapacity and changes in fleet makeup continue to pressure the MPV/HL sector.
17 Jan 2020
German super-heavy carrier SAL announces C-suite additions and a digitization push as the outlook for 2020 stabilizes.
10 Jan 2020
With its acquisition of ALE complete, Mammoet will own the world's largest fleet of heavy lifting and transport equipment, outstripping global competitors Sarens and Fagioli.
07 Jan 2020
The Port of Duluth-Superior sees growth opportunities in wind, breakbulk, and project cargo, and is investing heavily in Clure Terminal.
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.