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

14 Sep 2020
In a three-tiered market, F-types hold their own, high-end MPV/HL ships reap the rewards of DP systems and super-heavy cranes, while lower-geared, less specialized ships suffer.
30 Jul 2019
Blockchain technology has the potential to improve communication across supply chain stakeholders by creating a single, immutable record of all documents and data.
29 Jul 2019
The merger of Mammoet and ALE, two of the three largest heavy-lift transport providers, raises major questions for competitor Sarens.
29 Jul 2019
Members of the Project Logistics Contracts Model Rules Initiative say it can be difficult to have a meaningful discussion about inappropriate terms and conditions within contracts, as service providers can be kicked out of negotiations if they protest.
26 Jul 2019
Specialized carrier Zeamarine has published an IMO 2020-driven bunker clause announcement for its tramp and semi-liner multipurpose and heavy-lift fleet as it looks to offset the coming jump in fuel costs.
26 Jul 2019
A recent uptick in pest presence in properly treated and marked wood packaging materials (WPM) has US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) rethinking its ISPM 15 enforcement policies.
CBP inspections have uncovered a rash of properly treated and stamped shipments of inbound wood packaging materials (WPM) cargo that nonetheless harbored dangerous wood-boring beetles.
25 Jul 2019
Violations of ISPM 15, which maintains strict guidelines for treatment of all wood packaging materials (WPM) to prevent the accidental introduction of invasive pests, can result in the re-exportation of entire shipments of goods and large fines, even if importers and carriers have followed the regulations to the best of their abilities.
A yacht being lifted to the deck of a G2 Ocean vessel.
24 Jul 2019
Multipurpose vessel/heavy-lift (MPV/HL) analysts Dynamar, Drewry, and Toepfer all have slightly different in-house methods for parsing out the specialized MPV/HL fleet that focuses on breakbulk, project, and heavy-lift cargoes.
22 Jul 2019
US importers say they face a lack of alternatives, feedback, and proactive sourcing information from enforcement officials when treated and apparently compliant wood packaging materials (WPM) fail ISPM 15 inspection.
Operational gains path to early shipping decarbonization
19 Jul 2019
Although improvements in operational efficiencies alone will not meet IMO 2050 emissions targets, industry experts say they are the most feasible short-term measures to transition to a low-carbon shipping sector.
Ove Meyer will remain a managing partner of Bremen-based parent company Zeaborn Holding following his resignation as managing director of multipurpose/heavylift (MPV/HL) carrier group Zeaborn.
18 Jul 2019
In a surprise move, Zeaborn co-founder Ove Meyer joins a string of executives to leave the carrier group, now one of the largest in the multipurpose/heavy-lift fleet.
An 835-ton demethanizer is transshipped from heavy-lift vessel to barge at De-Kastri port in Russia.
17 Jul 2019
Two key components of the under-construction Amur gas processing plant were delivered to the project site in Russia’s remote far east; it will be another four or five years before all oversized cargo arrives on location.
Port of NY-NJ looks to develop wind energy terminal
15 Jul 2019
New Jersey’s approval of an 1,100-megawatt offshore wind project could be the start of a wave of offshore wind projects that the Port of New York and New Jersey believes will eventually require a specialized terminal to support the wind energy supply chain.
15 Jul 2019
Older vessels and jockeying for cargo are crimping the health of the breakbulk sector, which can be seen in recent rate data.
09 Jul 2019
Massive wind investments are expected offshore and on over the next five years
09 Jul 2019
Industry executives say the ExxonMobil-Saudi petchem joint venture building a $10 billion plant near Corpus Christi could spend as much as a half-billion dollars on logistics, although nailing down a more precise figure is difficult in the project’s early stages.
03 Jul 2019
Sponsored: Port NOLA's Vice President/CCO Bobby Landry discusses the return of Breakbulk Conference to New Orleans, acquisition of New Orleans Public Belt Railroad, tariff impacts, and expanding cargo handling capabilities.
01 Jul 2019
Burgeoning Midwestern wind development will add thousands of megawatts to the US power grid.
01 Jul 2019
Chartering specialist leaves EPC company Fluor for Bremen-based super-heavy-lift carrier.
26 Jun 2019
EPC execs talk labor, modularization and tech at Downstream 2019 conference
17 Jun 2019
Tendering activity to ease lackluster ‘summer slowdown’
13 Jun 2019
Trucking companies hauling oversized heavy freight saw revenue jump by double digits last year, but bigger and bigger shipments challenge specialized capacity.
10 Jun 2019
Worried about compatibility problems, some multipurpose and heavy-lift carriers will stick with marine gasoil despite a likely price bump in the wake of the IMO 2020 low-sulfur fuel regulations.
Wind blades stowed on the deck on the G2Ocean Star Juventas.
05 Jun 2019
CargoX’s “smart” bill of lading allows for the digital transfer of shipping documentation, but CBO Vjeran Ortynski says government acceptance of digital originals will be the “real disruptor.”
04 Jun 2019
CMA CGM is placing a bigger focus on breakbulk and project cargo shipments to and from India.
28 May 2019
A tight talent supply, persistent vessel oversupply, and a “procurement mindset” will continue to challenge the project cargo market, according to speakers at the Breakbulk Europe conference in Bremen.
24 May 2019
Uncertainty about the supply, availability, and compatibility of low-sulfur fuel with ship engines is complicating the breakbulk fleet's transition to LSFO under IMO 2020.
23 May 2019
The rise of populist governments is crimping the outlook for free trade, according to Boris Glass, senior economist with S&P Global Ratings.
21 May 2019
Carriers long busy with Asian and European offshore wind installations see strong potential in the United States emerging offshore market.
21 May 2019
The automotive trade is waiting with bated breath for any tariffs coming out of the US Commerce Department’s investigation into the potential national security implications of imports of vehicles and parts.
20 May 2019
Higher tariffs and slowing manufacturing growth are among the factors weighing on heavy machinery demand.
20 May 2019
Despite NIMBY friction and logistics challenges, offshore installations are expected to take off.
16 May 2019
Module growth and oil and gas investment are signaling improvement for the super-heavy cargo niche, but a surplus of vessel supply is still weighing on the market.
13 May 2019
The annual training “rodeo” held at the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore teaches longshoremen and women how to properly handle rolling stock.
10 May 2019
The Chinese state-run ocean carrier and fellow Asia-based lines are slowly revealing plans that tilt toward deeper logistics services beyond conventional ocean shipping, with a distinctive Asian focus.
07 May 2019
Ulrich Ulrichs, former CEO of Rickmers-Linie, which has since been absorbed by Zeaborn, will become CEO at BBC Chartering following a transition period.