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.
23 May 2016
India and Iran on Monday entered into a formal investment agreement for Chabahar port, the first such agreement involving an Iranian port and international backers since the lifting of sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear program.
23 May 2016
Strike actions that paralyzed France last week have cut off rail access to the port of Le Havre.
16 May 2016
Rickmers Group posted sharply lower earnings and reduced revenue in the first quarter.
13 May 2016
China Cosco Shipping and the Belgium-based dredging, environmental and marine engineering group DEME have formed a joint venture to develop offshore wind farms in China.
13 May 2016
Bangladesh-based Bengal Electric said it expects in July to have a new floating crane with 1,000-ton capacity ready for operation.
10 May 2016
Diversified Port Holdings of Jacksonville, Florida, has acquired the Savannah and Charleston breakbulk operations of Liberty Terminals, and will operate them as Seaonus-Savannah LLC.
10 May 2016
Port Panama City plans to develop a breakbulk forest products terminal on a newly acquired waterfront tract at the U.S. Gulf Coast port on the Florida panhandle.
06 May 2016
Japan’s major transportation and logistics companies are on a spending spree in Myanmar.
02 May 2016
The diverging fortunes of two container terminals in Itajai, Brazil, open a window into how carrier consolidation and the merger of joint services can impact port terminals worldwide.
26 Apr 2016
Yildirim Holding is mulling investment in U.S. ports as the Turkish transport and industrial conglomerate pursues its bid to become a top 10 global terminal operator.
25 Apr 2016
DP World has signed twin agreements with the Cyprus government to operate a multipurpose terminal at Limassol and provide marine services at the Mediterranean island’s largest port.
18 Apr 2016
Container lines will continue to aggressively target the depressed breakbulk and project cargo market with “close to zero” freight rates for the foreseeable future, according to Drewry Shipping Consultants.
14 Apr 2016
Germany’s Rickmers Holding and ER Capital Holding are weighing the merger of their ship-management units into a global joint venture with around 220 vessels.
11 Apr 2016
India’s ports sector continued its financial recovery in fiscal 2015-16 after its 12 major state-owned ports, known as major ports, booked an increase in operating profit of 19 percent.
02 Apr 2016
More than $80 billion in energy-related projects are under way or planned in the southwestern corner of Louisiana, where the presence of thousands of construction workers has created a boomtown atmosphere.
01 Apr 2016
Motor carriers seeking road permits for oversize or overweight loads in the European Union face a patchwork of country-by-country rules, with little automation to smooth the process.
01 Apr 2016
When a project shipment includes heavy or oversize cargo, among the first questions asked are: Which roads and bridges can safely handle the loads? And what permits will be needed? Answers can be especially tricky in the U.S., where 50 states and thousands of counties and municipalities issue permits for an ever-growing volume of out-of-gauge shipments.
31 Mar 2016
When Plan A didn’t work for the shipment of 12 oversize loads of electrical smoothing reactors from Toronto to the Canadian province of Alberta, motor carrier Precision Specialized Division used the Great Lakes to succeed with Plan B.
30 Mar 2016
Nordana Project and Chartering, which owns and operates about 25 breakbulk and heavy-lift multipurpose tweendeck vessels, has named Rickmers-Linie as its representative in China.
Port of Duluth, project cargo shipment, windmill blades
29 Mar 2016
Project cargoes are becoming more important to ports and carriers on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway amid forecasts of continued weakness in bulk shipments.
28 Mar 2016
Roll-on, roll-off operator Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics is best known for its fleet of pure car and truck carriers and has owners with deep shipowning roots, but the company’s fastest-growing business is on land.
26 Mar 2016
News that the International Atomic Energy Agency had verified Iran’s compliance with requirements to curtail its nuclear program raised the hopes of project shippers eager to help restore Iranian infrastructure and energy production. But most companies will have to wait a while — and the wait may be longest for U.S. companies, which are likely to be stuck in line behind their European Union counterparts.
25 Mar 2016
Operators of multipurpose vessels are catching it from all sides. Slumping oil prices are causing cancellations of energy projects, and there’s increasingly stiff competition from container ships, roll-on, roll-off vessels and bulk carriers.
24 Mar 2016
Uncertain global demand for LNG and development of new export capacity could affect the project cargo industry by forcing cancellation of announced plants. Analysts are questioning whether several announced U.S. LNG export terminals will be built.
24 Mar 2016
The Panama Canal Authority said its new locks will be inaugurated June 26, more than two years after the original completion target.
22 Mar 2016
The Port of New Orleans is exploring the feasibility and cost of converting the former Avondale Shipyard on the Mississippi River into a breakbulk cargo terminal.
22 Mar 2016
The Panama Canal Authority will set draft restrictions on shipping using the vital east-west waterway as the El Nino weather phenomenon causes water levels to fall well below average for this time of year.
21 Mar 2016
Three Great Lakes shipping organizations are urging the U.S. Coast Guard to reverse “glaring errors” that will sharply increase pilotage fees during the annual navigation season that started with Monday’s reopening of the St. Lawrence Seaway.
21 Mar 2016
Two German shipping companies have been sentenced to pay $1.5 million after pleading guilty to charges arising from use of a “magic pipe” to illegally dump oily bilge water from the general cargo ship BBC Magellan.
21 Mar 2016
Paris-listed Bolloré Group, which holds 21 port concessions worldwide and operates 14 container terminals in Africa, announced a 2 percent drop in revenue for 2015 to $12.2 billion.
18 Mar 2016
Construction work is set to commence on the second phase of the only deep-sea port in central Africa at Kribi, Cameroon after a second round of financing was arranged with the Export-Import Bank of China.
18 Mar 2016
APM Terminals-operated Pipavav Port’s efforts to grow container volumes received a big push earlier this week when the INDFEX, or India-Far East Express, consortium introduced a regular weekly call at the minor facility on India’s west coast.
16 Mar 2016
NileDutch, a specialized West Africa container line, has acquired the Europe to West Africa services and operations of independent Maersk Line subsidiary Safmarine.
15 Mar 2016
Rickmers Group posted higher earnings and revenue, driven by the dollar’s rise against the euro, an increase in the number of ships under management, and cost cutting, but a write down in the value of its vessels resulted in a bottom line loss.
11 Mar 2016
AAL and Peter Döhle Schiffahrts-KG will launch a joint semi-liner service using multipurpose vessels with heavy-lift capability between Asia, the Middle East and Europe.