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.
17 Jul 2016
Pressure for mergers and acquisitions in the breakbulk sector has increased since mid-2015, as cargo volumes, rates and vessel earnings have plunged.
16 Jul 2016
Facing weakness in their core markets, container and dry bulk carriers are pitching hard for multipurpose vessels’ traditional cargoes.
14 Jul 2016
The number of mega-ships calling at the port jumped by 66 percent.
13 Jul 2016
The first steps were taken Tuesday toward development of a new zero-emission terminal at the Port of Los Angeles.
Wind farms like the one pictured are critical to the success of project cargo carriers.
12 Jul 2016
Nine offshore wind farm developers and the Scottish government will fund a study aimed at bringing the costs of wind energy closer to those of other sources of electricity.
11 Jul 2016
The purchase would boost the Australian presence of the parent company of China’s leading state-owned terminal operator, China Merchants Holdings (International).
06 Jul 2016
The Department of Transportation plans to award 18 grants totaling $600 million to 16 states via the Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects program.
06 Jul 2016
A joint venture will seek customers for a planned eastern version of Prince Rupert.
04 Jul 2016
With next month’s summer Olympics a disaster long before the torch is lit, and with political and economic upheaval swirling, South America’s biggest economy is in the midst of one of its deepest recessions.
01 Jul 2016
A new market friendly government in Brazil is keen to get U.S. investment for infrastructure.
27 Jun 2016
Berth congestion at the Port of Yangon has eased, but congestion in container yards remains a serious problem.
Port of Chittagong
27 Jun 2016
Shippers and ocean carriers using Bangladesh’s main gateway port of Chittagong have been battling heavy congestion for the past few weeks.
27 Jun 2016
Cosco Shipping Panama on Sunday made the first commercial transit of the Panama Canal’s new locks.
25 Jun 2016
The larger locks of the Panama Canal open on Sunday, but what impact will they have on global trade and container shipping?
20 Jun 2016
Heavy-lift carrier says its  offshore barges will support turnkey services
17 Jun 2016
Norway-based breakbulk and dry-bulk carrier Grieg Star has completed a senior debt refinancing.
15 Jun 2016
South Africa plans to invest billions in its ports to meet rising demand.
10 Jun 2016
It sounds counterintuitive, but today’s depressed market for multipurpose ships offers buying opportunities.
A new automobile shipping processing operation will open at a site adjacent to the Port of Baltimore
07 Jun 2016
A new automobile shipping processing operation will open at a site adjacent to the Port of Baltimore.
07 Jun 2016
DP World won a concession to develop a new port in Ecuador.
06 Jun 2016
New York state plans a potentially “game-changing” bid on a federal lease to develop an Atlantic Ocean wind farm.
03 Jun 2016
Maersk Line and Russian aluminum producing giant Rusal have signed a three-year deal for the transportation of thousands of TEUs annually.
02 Jun 2016
Siemens has awarded a four-year contract to heavy-lift specialist ALE.
President Ahmed Mohamed Mahamoud (left) and DP World Chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem.
02 Jun 2016
DP World has signed a “term sheet” with the government of Somaliland to invest hundreds of millions of dollars.
01 Jun 2016
Hamburg-based Rickmers-Linie will take over the multipurpose heavy-lift fleet of Nordana Project & Chartering.
01 Jun 2016
U.S. Great Lakes ports, vessel operators and maritime trade groups have filed a lawsuit against the Coast Guard.
01 Jun 2016
China’s Landbridge Group said it would invest in a major expansion of Australia’s Darwin Port.
31 May 2016
The Port of Chennai said it has completed a dredging project to make it the deepest in India, but it is holding off on plans to build an outer harbor because of slumping traffic.
30 May 2016
Japan has agreed to provide financial support for a new international port development project in Indonesia.
27 May 2016
Roll-on, roll-off operators are positioning themselves as long-term competitors for heavy-lift shipments of traditional breakbulk vessels.
26 May 2016
After recording sluggish growth last fiscal year amid a weaker global economy, India’s major public ports got off to a healthy and promising start in fiscal 2016 and 2017.
25 May 2016
The Baltic Exchange today confirmed it is in exclusive talks with the Singapore Exchange over an offer for the international shipping market place.
25 May 2016
The government of Pakistan is introducing extensive long-term tax concessions for Chinese companies operating at the port of Gwadar on the Arabian Sea.
24 May 2016
The Port of Hamburg’s container traffic shrank in the first quarter as breakbulk traffic stalled.
24 May 2016
AirBridgeCargo Airlines has launched a weekly freighter service.