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

28 Nov 2022
US-based MPV operator Intermarine is expanding into Asia and Europe via a partnership with Thailand’s WeShip.
A toy story in New York, United States.
28 May 2018
As with many other consumer industries, it’s not that the toy industry pie is shrinking, it’s merely being split differently.
Big-ticket appliances.
28 May 2018
In 2017, US imports of household goods jumped as home projects and construction soared on economic strength, and the outlook calls for continued growth in 2018.
A freight train travels in Illinois, United States.
24 May 2018
The United States is early in trucking’s “new normal” era, but what is already clear is this: shippers will have to use all options — whether truckload, intermodal rail, less-than-truckload, or even package van — if they want to secure surface transportation capacity.
A forest in the United States.
24 May 2018
US forest product and paper industry exports have rebounded, aided by eased environmental regulations.
Ethereum.
23 May 2018
ShipChain, the cryptocurrency-based logistics start-up company, was issued a cease-and-desist order Tuesday by South Carolina’s attorney general for allegedly transacting securities as an unlicensed broker/dealer.
DP World Vallarpadam Container Transhipment Terminal at Cochin credit DP World Cochin 2
23 May 2018
With the change, effective immediately, foreign carriers can transport laden export-import containers for transhipment and empty containers for repositioning between Indian ports without any specific permission or license.
Caterpillar machinery.
23 May 2018
With the regional, synchronized global expansion largely intact, rising demand points to a strong year for global trade; however, global politics threaten to soften demand for exports of US heavy machinery.
Brazil truckers on strike - May 2018.
23 May 2018
Truckers and others are striking because Petrobras, the state-controlled oil company, has gradually increased diesel prices — by more than 40 percent — over six months, at the same time that the Temer administration has substantially hiked fuel taxes.
China Europe rail.
23 May 2018
It is widely known that government subsidies make the China-Europe rail a viable option, but the huge scale of this support is starting to emerge.
A truck travels on a US road.
21 May 2018
Most shippers say they can’t remember a US transportation market with capacity as tight and pricing as extreme. And shippers say securing capacity is still their priority, despite rates rising by double digits.
Apples being prepared for shipment.
21 May 2018
The European Union and India announced their retaliation for US tariffs on steel and aluminum as the Trump Administration sent contradictory signals regarding its stance on tariffs and China.
Port of Philadelphia.
18 May 2018
The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) has been battling non-ILA competition at Delaware River terminals for more than two decades. Jim Paylor, president of Local 1566, said non-ILA unions have kept down wages, among other ramifications.
A busy road in cntral Dhaka, Bangladesh.
17 May 2018
The Chittagong Chambers of Commerce & Industry president said he spoke with the Road Transport and Highways minister and secretary and they assured him of issuing a directive relaxing the weight limit for trucks within a day or two.
Los Angeles warehouses.
16 May 2018
With industrial vacancy rates in Los Angeles-Long Beach close to 1 percent for the past two years, and rents increasing by 12 percent a year, e-commerce fulfillment, light assembly, and specialty retail importers in Southern California are paying record prices for Class B and C properties.
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.
A truck travels in Wyoming, United States.
07 May 2018
An aging workforce and strong competition from lateral sectors means the US trucking sector will have to boost apprenticeship programs, as well as deploy smart, creative recruitment strategies to address the truck driver shortage.
Trucks traveling in Florida.
07 May 2018
It was President John F. Kennedy who said, “I appreciate candor, almost as much as I appreciate good news.” Place this point in the category of utmost candor: if you thought it was difficult to find a truck in the United States in the first quarter, just wait.
Port of Los Angeles.
04 May 2018
It is an ambitious goal, but port officials, environmental experts, and other stakeholders at a summit offered substantial evidence that the commercially-feasible, zero-emissions, cargo-handling system will arrive sooner than many expect.
A truck on a US highway.
03 May 2018
So how do you know whether a US dedicated contract carriage solution is right for you? Here are nine questions that will shape your review.
A US Government office in California.
03 May 2018
Beneficial cargo owners are commending the US Customs and Border Protection's one-stop cargo processing offices, but they also have a few tips for overall service improvement.
A truck travels on a US road.
01 May 2018
Trucking companies at the NASSTRAC Shippers Conference say they aren’t having an easy time finding capacity either, citing rising labor costs and a shrinking labor pool. And there are other sector issues they are dealing with that shippers never see.
Port of Los Angeles.
01 May 2018
US shippers’ challenge in securing drayage capacity has eased since the peak eight weeks ago, but tightness persists in selected regions, and there are signs of more near-term difficulties.
Trucks on a US highway.
30 Apr 2018
Along with an increase in transport demand from the strengthening US and global economies, the truck transport capacity gap is being widened by a shortage of drivers. But can the sector raise wages enough to compete with the construction and oil/energy services sectors?
CMA CGM
30 Apr 2018
Is the decision by CMA CGM to take a 25 percent stake in CEVA the beginning of a wave in which ocean carriers seek to become one-stop shipper shops?
The Port of Santos.
27 Apr 2018
The union has increased it's "all-day strikes" from one day to three days per week, and as a result, up to 4,000 containers are delayed daily, some for up to 21 days.
DP World Nhava Sheva.
26 Apr 2018
In another sign of the cargo trend intended to achieve greater capacity utilization, the MSC Sola — a 11,600-TEU ship deployed in the Himalaya Express Service between India and Europe — loaded a 100-tonne (110-ton) oversize freight item at India.