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

03 Oct 2022
US auto imports slid 8 percent during the first seven months of 2022, reflecting supply chain snarls, even as high and heavy imports gained steam.
US Customs Building in New York.
02 Apr 2018
Shippers worried that the launch of the US Customs and Border Protection bureau’s (CBP's) much-delayed Automated Commercial Environment system could disrupt cargo flow can take comfort from the CBP’s conclusion that the launch went off without a major incident, and is operating as it should.
Chittagong Port.
30 Mar 2018
Wilhelmsen did an exhaustive search of the market and whittled down the list to five lines with vessels that could accommodate a bold solution for the Chittagong Port assignment.
A truck travels on a US road.
28 Mar 2018
Shippers should be aware that there are anecdotal reports that questionable forms of co-brokering or double brokering are on the rise in 2018, as the supply of US trucks tightens and some brokers look to make a quick buck. During these instances, shippers essentially fund a double commission and could be exposed to financial damages, delays or lawsuits when things go wrong.
And Antonov plane.
28 Mar 2018
Life has been good for heavy-lift air cargo operator Antonov after the breakup with its partner, with the company notching job wins in oil and gas, energy, aerospace, agriculture, telecommunications, and other industries. But that, in a sense, was not surprising, given its advantage — seven AN-124-100 freighters with payloads capable of transporting 150 metric tons.
Port of Oakland.
27 Mar 2018
Rising tariffs and retaliatory measures are a threat to global trade, an alliance of shipper organizations has warned.
Port of Los Angeles.
26 Mar 2018
After years of forecasts of imminent recovery in depressed breakbulk and project markets, there are increasing signs the market finally is close to shaking its doldrums.
Port of New Orelans.
23 Mar 2018
A plan to redevelop former Avondale Shipyards at New Orleans into a privately owned and operated breakbulk terminal and multimodal hub has won support from port officials.
Mexico - vehicles waiting for export.
23 Mar 2018
Shippers that export vehicles to the United States from Mexico appear to be increasingly turning to do so by sea, and the new terminal at Lazaro Cardenas gives a new, specialist option to shippers that move vehicles in or out of the country.
A street in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
23 Mar 2018
Container Corporation of India Ltd.’s train will transport 60 TEU in its debut journey, which will be treated as a trial run. Officials will start regular service within two months, after removing any bottlenecks identified during the trial trip.
Santa Barbara California desalination plant by IDE Technologies
23 Mar 2018
Water projects to supply drinking water, hydroelectric power, and sewage treatment are major sources of global shipments for engineering, procurement, and construction companies, and for forwarders and breakbulk carriers that deliver materials, including pipes, turbines, and modules for water treatment plants.
DP World Terminal Cochin.
22 Mar 2018
Executives are increasingly viewing the emerging market economy as a bright spot for investment. And the reason is clear: India’s GDP growth is expected to exceed China’s next year.
United Kingdom and European Union.
20 Mar 2018
The UK-EU trade reality is that a hard Brexit would delay supply chains almost immediately — something negotiators on both sides of the Channel will try to avoid, given the extra 21-month transition period.
A truck on a US road.
20 Mar 2018
Trucking and, in fact, all US surface transportation capacity is tight in early 2018. Shippers are finding it challenging to move freight within North America, and transportation rates are rising. The questions are: Why? How long will this last? What can shippers and exporters and importers do about it?
A warehouse in the United States.
15 Mar 2018
Have freight forwarders and transportation companies heard the “wake up call” of the fourth industrial revolution — one that will transform supply chains? The world has changed and the evidence argues it is time to invest in technology and people development.
A travels in the United States.
14 Mar 2018
Agricultural shippers, especially livestock owners, and truckers will get some relief this produce season via an extension of a temporary waiver of the ELD mandate. Other groups are pressing for longer waivers, as the rollout of the ELD mandate throws supply chains out of whack.
12 Mar 2018
The Port of Baltimore won the single largest sum for maritime infrastructure in this round of TIGER grants.
12 Mar 2018
Aligning capacity with fluctuating demand and sticker-shock pricing is always a tough dance in the air cargo spot market, and it is getting more difficult.
12 Mar 2018
The Alabama State Port Authority is moving forward with plans to develop an automobile terminal at the Port of Mobile.
Aluminum cans stacked.
02 Mar 2018
The ports are concerned that tariffs will lower steel and aluminum imports and invite retaliation that will undermine exports of US products.
Houston skyline from Port Houston.
01 Mar 2018
Logistec’s previous operations were centered in Canada and on the US East Coast.
A container ship.
27 Feb 2018
The dispute, which has arisen annually during the past several years, comes as shippers, carriers, and ports prepare for the 2018 Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway shipping season, which runs from late March through the end of the year.
Chicago is a critical node in intermodal rail supply chains because of its geographical location.
22 Feb 2018
Although not limited to Chicago, the top US freight hub has been cited for the most severe gridlock and so much drayage demand that some motor carriers will not accept new customers until April.
US Customs House, New York, NY.
21 Feb 2018
A white paper released by the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America concludes that a program designed to streamline trade is still a “work in progress” that is “still in need of a substantial infusion of common sense policy, solid programming, additional budget allocation and good government oversight.”
Rail freight in Europe.
21 Feb 2018
Given increasing road congestion, the European Union is under pressure to make a concerted effort to create a genuine, pan-European rail market, but given the dominance of state-owned rail operators in most countries that stifles competition, shippers and forwarders remain skeptical.
A US wareghouse
15 Feb 2018
Many shippers overlook transportation data that monitor their delivery exceptions. Mining data about delivery exceptions might provide shippers with smarter, more-effectual transportation performance data.
US Department of Defense.
14 Feb 2018
The US Department of Defense contract calls for Crowley to move various types of cargo from thousands of suppliers through 41 major depots around the continental United States, including Alaska, and Canada.
Rail transport.
14 Feb 2018
The key north-south rail link is flowing again, after the section between Milan and Basel had been closed for two weeks, but challenges remain, as terminals work to clear a huge container backlog.
RollDock, SAL say pooling their dock vessels will improve vessel utilization.
12 Feb 2018
RollDock and SAL say pooling their dock vessels will improve vessel utilization, broaden coverage, and provide more options for customers.
Trade in wind energy components is increasing in the United States.
07 Feb 2018
After reinventing itself several times over the decades, the Port of Galveston has settled on a business formula that emphasizes vehicles and other roll-on, roll-off cargo, refrigerated shipments, wind energy and project cargo, and cruise ships.
The new AAL-HMM service will operate five ships.
06 Feb 2018
The new AAL-HMM joint-service will operate five ships — four 30,100-deadweight-ton vessels (dwt) from HMM and one 31,000-dwt vessel from AAL.
The Port of Beaumont has found a market in renewable energy and breakbulk bulk cargo.
30 Jan 2018
Beaumont, 90 miles east of Houston, is not a container port but instead has a diversified base of breakbulk cargo that includes projects, military cargo, wind energy, steel, forest products, bagged goods, and dry and liquid bulk cargo.
29 Jan 2018
The new container service will be Pensacola’s first. World Direct said the port near the tip of Florida’s panhandle will complement the carrier’s current calls at Port Manatee.
29 Jan 2018
Port CEO John Murray said the new berth is needed not only for aerospace modules but for shipments resulting from Central Florida’s growth.
MSC.
24 Jan 2018
The first sailing of MSC’s fortnightly roll-on, roll-off West Africa service will begin Feb. 19 from Le Havre.
22 Jan 2018
The partnerships will allow Netherlands-based Mammoet to provide service in the Spanish market.